The Minnesota Timberwolves have just eight games to go this season and they're certainly hoping that they'll be able to win a few more games to end the season on the 'right note'. A game versus the Denver Nuggets may not be the game to turn things around, however.
There's no doubt a W would be beneficial for the Timberwolves....and the Utah Jazz! If you don't know already, we own Utah's 1st round pick in this year's draft IF they make the playoffs (it's lottery-protected). One of the teams that stand in Utah's way for a 7th or 8th seed is the Denver Nuggets.
It'll be no easy task, however. Denver has won three-in-a-row at home and have gone 10-5 at home the past two months (with just one of those losses came against a sub-.500 team). Minnesota will be looking to avoid a fourth straight loss at the Pepsi Center as well as a 10th loss in 11 games in Denver.
The Timberwolves have lost 14 of their last 18 games and are currently on a season-worst 6-game losing streak (the worst losing streak since finishing last season on a 15-game skid).
Minnesota currently sits at 25-33 on the year, 12-18 on the road and 2-8 in their last 10 games. Denver is 31-26 on the season, 17-12 at the Pepsi Center (home) and 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Here's each team's last 5 games...
The last game for the Nuggets was that 123-84 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday. It was a dominating win for the Nuggets, just two days after losing to the...Warriors. The Nuggets led all 48 minutes and were led by their rookie, Kenneth Faried who had season/career-highs in points (27) and rebounds (17). Arron Afflalo & Danilo Gallinari added 15pts each and JaVale McGee & Corey Brewer both came off the bench and had 13pts each. This was Gallinari's first game back after missing 10-straight with a broken thumb.
The Minnesota Timberwolves may be without Luke Ridnour for a fourth-straight game who is still nursing a badly sprained ankle. Before Monday's game vs. the Suns, Rick Adelman sounded pessimistic that he would return on Wednesday vs. the Nuggets. If he's able to play I'd expect him to start. He'll likely be a gametime decision. Darko Milicic remains out, as well with a phantom hamstring injury.
For the Nuggets, they'll be without Rudy Fernandez, Al Harrington and possibly Wilson Chandler. Fernandez had season-ending lower back surgery, reports came out today that he'll return to Spain to continue his rehab. Harrington tore his meniscus in Monday's win over the Warriors. He's currently listed as probable and will likely try and play through it. Chandler has a hip injury and did not play Monday vs. the Warriors, he'll likely be a gametime decision.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
Ridnour/Barea vs. Ty Lawson (15.6ppg, 6.7apg, 1.4spg)
Martell Webster vs. Arron Afflalo (14.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.3apg)
Wesley Johnson vs. Danilo Gallinari (15.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.0spg)
Kevin Love vs. Kenneth Faried (9.9ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.0bpg)
Nikola Pekovic vs. Kosta Koufos (5.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 0.8bpg)
I listed Kosta Koufos as the probable starter because he was who started Monday vs. the Warriors. We could also see Timofey Mozgov or JaVale McGee as the starting 'five man'. In the Timberwolves' last meeting with the Nuggets (a 117-100 win), the Nuggets were without two of their starters: Danilo Gallinari & Arron Afflalo. Gallinari was out with that broken thumb and Arron Afflalo was serving a one-game suspension.
The Denver Nuggets have the best offense in the NBA, currently ranked #1 in points per game (103.5ppg). They also have the 6th-best rebounding team in the League (43.4rpg). They're also the #1 'assisting' team in the NBA (23.7apg). Lastly, Denver has the 2nd-WORST defense in the NBA, currently allowing 101.7ppg for opponents this season.
It should be a fun game to watch, here's hoping we see a strong defensive effort from this TWolves team, that has struggled mightily on that end. Obviously won't be an easy task vs. the #1 offense in the NBA...
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 8pmCT from the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.
Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!