The Minnesota Timberwolves are back in action on New Year's Day vs. the Dallas Mavericks. The TWolves are coming off a 101-103 on Friday night vs. the Miami Heat. The story? Too many team turnovers (25) leading to 27 Miami points--they were lucky to be in it--with a chance to get the win in the final minutes.
Minnesota has started the season 0-3, with losses to the Thunder on Monday, the Bucks on Tuesday and of course the Heat on Friday. They'll look to turn things around against last season's NBA Champions. Who, quite frankly, haven't been playing like "World Champions"!
The Mavericks have started this season 1-3. They finally got their first win on Friday vs. the Toronto Raptors in a 99-86 W. The other three games? An 11-point loss to Miami, a 22-point loss to Denver and a two-point loss to the Thunder.
Needless to say, the Mavericks look old out there. I watched that opening day game on Christmas versus the Miami Heat. In what I expected, to be a close, fun game to watch--like the NBA Finals were, it simply was not! Of course this isn't the same Mavericks team from last season! They let J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler & Caron Butler go via free agency and added Vince Carter, Lamar Odom, Delonte West, Brandan Wright & Sean Williams. Some good playes gone and some good players added, they just need some time to "figure each other out". It's also clear, Mark Cuban is saving up for Free Agency 2012 when Dwight Howard and Deron Williams (most notably) will be free agents.
Let's take a look at the lineups for each team...
*= J.J. Barea has an injured hamstring and may not be able to play in the game. He'll be a gametime decision. **= Nikola Pekovic has an injured groin and may not be able to go either!
To me, this is the game I feel Ricky Rubio is handed to "keys" to this offense and becomes the Wolves' starting point guard. In the game against Miami he had 12pts, 6rebs, 12ast, 1stl in 31 minutes, but also 5tos. Who knows if Adelman will finally decide he wants Ricky to start over the veteran Ridnour, but ultimately Rubio will be finishing the game in that final five that tries to close out the game (something they've been highly unsuccessful for Minnesota this season...and last).
Let's take a look at each team's individual statistic leaders...
It's going to be a fun matchup at the power forward Sunday night. Kevin Love vs. Dirk Nowitzki pits two of the best Western Conference (and NBA) power forwards against one another, both leading their team in points and on the glass. Surprisingly, Love has the upper hand in rebounds AND points! Rubio has upped his assist totals with that 12 assist outing vs. Miami, hopefully he has another big outing! Darko Milicic had his first two blocks of the season vs. Miami, his only of the year! Hopefully he brings those numbers back up!
I'm looking forward to this one! A young up-and-comer TWolves team vs. an aging veteran Mavericks team. Youth vs. Experience! Dirk vs. K-Love! Ricky Rubio's first NBA start? Man, I hope so!
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 6pmCT on New Year's Day (1/1), have a Happy New Year, enjoy the game and as always we'll have a full gameday recap and pictures from Sunday's game on this site following the final horn! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!