The Timberwolves are flying high and riding a three-game win streak, with their last win coming yesterday of the Sixers, thanks to a clutch performance from Love.
The Nuggets, on the other hand...they also played yesterday, the result was not as pleasant for Denver. The Nuggets were playing the Thunder, a game that went into overtime, but the Nuggets couldn't pull it out. They allowed Kevin Durant to score a career-high 51pts, Russell Westbrook added 40 & 9ast and Serge Ibaka capped it off with a triple-double: 14pts, 15rebs, 11blks. The Nugggets continued to rally, but the 1-2 punch of Westbrook & KD, proved too much for the Nuggets. A team without a star (Denver) against a team with two (Oklahoma City).
Kevin Love will do his best to be the star power the Wolves need to get a win over a very balanced Denver team.
A win for Minnesota tonight will pull them above .500 once again this season and tie them for fourth in the Northwest division with...Denver! It will be no easy task, however. Denver has won 16 of the last 17 meetings between these two. Though the Wolves may be able to take advantage of a struggling Nuggets squad who've lost 10 of their last 13 games.
For Minnesota the job will get easier if the Nuggets' big man Nene can't play. The Twin Cities Towers (Love & Pekovic) have become a force to be reckoned with. Nene has missed four consecutive games with a calf injury. In his place, Kenneth Faried has started at power forward, while Timofey Mozogov starts at center. The frontcourt advantage Minnesota holds, definitely tips the odds in their favor. As Love is averaging over 25pts & 14rebs a game and in Pekovic's last five games he's averaged 21ppg & 11.6rpg.
The former Timberwolf Corey Brewer has also been in the Nuggets' starting lineup lately. With the injury to Danilo Gallinari, Corey Brewer is Denver's starting small forward.
For Minnesota to win they need to limit points from the Nuggets' backcourt (Ty Lawson & Arron Afflalo) and get their big men (Love & Pek) going early.
The Nuggets' bench was a big part in keeping the Nuggets in that game with OKC. Andre Miller came off the bench and had 21pts & 10ast, Chris Andersen & Al Harrington both added 11pts, Al had 11rebs & Andersen added 6rebs & 3blks. Former TWolf Kosta Koufos added 13pts & 9rebs. The key starters were Afflalo and Lawson. Afflalo had a team-high 27pts, 7rebs, 5ast, 2stls. Ty added 17pts, 4rebs & 7ast.
Minnesota's bench will need to match the intensity of those guys. Reserves J.J., Beasley, D-Will & Webster may not need to score double digits in points, but rather energy on both ends of the floor!
Tipoff is a later 8pmCT, hope you have a splendid President's Day. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!