After losing to the Pacers on Wednesday, the Wolves will take this one-game road trip to New Jersey to face the Nets on Friday night--before returning home Saturday for a game vs. the Houston Rockets.
The Wolves are coming off a 10-point loss to the Pacers on Wednesday. They were just bullied by the Pacers' size, toughness & physicality. For the Nets, they also had a game on Wednesday vs. the Detroit Pistons. The Nets won that one by just 3 points; 99-96. The Pistons had a chance to send it to overtime, but a missed three with 1.8 seconds to go by Detroit, gave the Nets the win. Deron Williams had 26pts & Kris Humphries added 18.
So, let's take a look at this matchup...
1.) The Nets & TWolves have both had their problems with injuries and depth. In that last game versus the Pistons, the Nets had just 8 healthy guys! The Wolves are getting healthier and will likely have 14 healthy players (and will have to have one inactive player--Anthony Randolph sat vs. Indiana).
2.) The Nets were without Johan Petro (sat out Wed. with a stomach virus), DeShawn Stevenson (has a right knee injury--out until at least Feb. 14th), Anthony Morrow (out Wed. vs. DET with an ankle injury), MarShon Brooks (out with a broken pinkie toe on his right foot), Damion James (out for the season after having to have a screw replaced in his foot), Mehmet Okur (has a back injury and underwent a procedure that'll keep him out until Sat.), and of course Brook Lopez (he hasn't played at all this season with that broken foot and head coach Avery Johnson doesn't expect him back 'anytime soon'). Morrow & Petro may be able to play--but we won't be seeing Lopez, Stevenson or Okur.
3.) With the injuries to all their centers, it begs the question--who'll be starting at the five for New Jersey? I'd expect to see either Shelden Williams (who started at the five vs. DET) or Johan Petro (if he's feeling better). And of course--who'll be starting at shooting guard for New Jersey? In that last game vs. Detroit Jordan Farmar started in the backcourt with Deron Williams. The Wolves signed free agent Keith Bogans to help with all the losses at the guards and forwards. Just days after signing Bogans he played 17 minutes vs. the Pistons and had 2pts and a rebound.
4.) Then, of course, the question is who is starting for Minnesota? I know that Minnesota will keep the backcourt of Rubio & Ridnour. A great combo--that Adelman has no reason to change! Kevin Love is the superstar of this team and the only way he's not starting--is if he's injured. That leaves--who starts at small forward and who starts at center? I wrote a quick post about this exact subject yesterday, follow the link for that---->http://mnwolves.weebly.com/1/post/2012/02/a-change-could-do-you-good.html
5.) The Wolves went into Wednesday's game vs. Indiana with a fourth chance to move to .500 this year--but as with the other three chances, they were unsuccessful--a win tonight vs. the Nets will allow them a fifth chance on Saturday vs. the Rockets---but let's not get ahead of ourselves!!
6.) The Wolves seem more comfortable on the road as they're 5-4 this season away from the Target Center. Compared to 5-8 at home! Hopefully they can move to 6-4 tonight! You want an even more intense statistic? In the Wolves' last two seasons under the direction of Kurt Rambis--the Wolves have gone 10-72! I guarantee they'll exceed 10 wins on the road this season. That's pretty sad considering it's just a 66-game season. They'll have double digit road wins in 33 games compared to 82 these past two seasons!
7.) In these two teams last meeting, it saw the Nets winning 105-107. It was a game at the Target Center on April 5, 2011. Deron Williams had a career-high 21 assists in that game. Though, the Wolves were without Kevin Love with that strained groin that made him miss the last few weeks of last season.
8.) Ricky Rubio gets to test his skill against another elite point guard--in Deron Williams. D-Will is definitely one of the tougher point guards in the League--and I mean that--like, 180lb. Rubio may have a tough time guarding such a big physical guard! If the Nets start a small backcourt (Williams & Farmar) that plays right into the hands of the Wolves that do the same--with 6-5 Rubio & 6-2 Ridnour. I'd expect to see Pekovic at center tonight matched up against either Petro or Shelden Williams. Kevin Love & Kris Humphries will also be going head-to-head--both players are solid rebounders, but we'll see if Humph can stop a much more offensively-gifted Love.
9.) Tipoff is set for 6:30pmCT--a change from the regular 7pm tips, so don't miss the start of the game! Though that's usually when the Wolves are playing their worst basketball.
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Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!