While last game marked the return of Kevin McHale & Jonny Flynn to the Target Center--today's game marks the return of Rick Adelman & Brad Miller to the Toyota Center.
Since playing the Rockets a week ago--they've faced three other teams and have gone 2-1 in that time. Wednesday was a win over the Mavericks. Friday was a win over the Spurs. And most recently, yesterday (Sunday) was a close loss the the Lakers. Recaps of all three of those games can be found in the previous posts of our 'Gameday' section.
For the Rockets, since playing the Wolves a week ago--they've had three games. Wednesday they fell to the Bucks; 105-99. Friday was a win over the Washington Wizards; 103-76. And Saturday was a win over the Knicks; 97-84.
The Wolves will play the Rockets again on Saturday (Feb. 2nd) back at the Target Center. And their last matchup of the season will come on Feb. 17th. Definitely hoping for different results these next few weeks than that 15-point loss a week ago.
There's no reason the Wolves can't beat this team. They've taken down much better teams this season; ie: Mavericks, Spurs and the L.A. Clippers.
Clearly--judging by that last meeting--the person the Wolves need to focus on defending very tightly is Kevin Martin. K-Mart had 31pts in that game--14 of which came in the very first quarter.
The Wolves' other key has to be getting contributions from a variety of places. The last game Kevin Love had to carry the team and responded with a 39-point, 12-rebound night. The Wolves have some key guys back: Martell Webster & Michael Beasley. But, guys like Ricky Rubio, Wesley Johnson & Luke Ridnour all need to pitch in--especially if Adelman keeps them in the starting lineup as the 1, 2, 3. If the Wolves can't get points from other places--we'll be seeing the same result we did a week ago. Though, it shouldn't happen. Since that game, Nikola Pekovic has stepped into the starting center role (with Darko out) and had 14-10 & 13-9 games these past two! Beasley has returned and had 18-12 in that loss to the Lakers.
To counter Martin--I'd expect to see Adelman play a combination of Wes Johnson & Martell Webster against their leading scorer. Hopefully Pekovic will remain in the starting five, even if Darko is available. His scoring and physicality--seems more valuable then Darko's slightly elevated post defense & occasional blocked shot. I could see Adelman putting Beasley back in the starting five--especially since the last game--Wes struggled to defend the 6-10 small forward, rookie Chandler Parsons!
I'm hoping for a few changes to the starting lineup--mainly Beas at small forward and keeping Pek at center. We'll soon find out though. Tipoff is set for 7pmCT.
Thanks for reading HOWL, following the final horn we'll have a full gameday recap right here! GO WOLVES!