Friday night the Minnesota will complete the non-traditional "Texas Three Step", playing all three teams out of Texas in the same week--beginning with the Rockets on Monday, the Mavericks on Wednesday and now the Spurs on Friday. The only thing making it non-traditional: the fact that two of the games were home games, not all in Texas as a road trip.
The Timberwolves are coming off an impressive fifteen point win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks on the night they got their rings--spoiling their night ever so slightly!
The Timberwolves are now 8-10 on the season and are facing a team they've already beaten earlier this year--the Spurs. Their first meeting resulted in a 106-96 win--and was of course the game that Manu Ginobli fractured his hand. Since that loss to Minnesota on January 2nd, the Spurs have gone 9-5, the losses being against the Thunder, Bucks, Heat, Kings & Rockets.
The Spurs' last game was a 22-point drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks. DeJuan Blair & Matt Bonner both had 17pts in that one--as Bonner shot 5-for-7 from deep. In Ginboli's absence the Spurs have started rookie Kawhi Leonard at the forward and had Richard Jefferson play shooting guard--it's obviously been working for them.
The first time these two teams played is the only game this season for the Timberwolves that I didn't watch! The Wolves put themselves up by 14pts on a 10-0 run with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. They cruised to that easy win as San Antonio was without their leading and go-to scorer.
We'll see how many healthy Timberwolves players are able to play vs. San Antonio, I'd expect to see Wesley Johnson a bit more healthy, but beyond him I'm not sure. The Wolves were without six players vs. the Mavericks: J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour, Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Brad Miller & Malcolm Lee. I know J.J., Beasley, Miller & Lee won't be playing vs. the Spurs, but for the other two there is a chance they could play. Ridnour has a sprained knee and it and because the Wolves didn't practice on Thursday there's no update on his condition, not sure he'll be back tomorrow, but for Martell--this is his target date, he's set for his return and it sounds like we may get our first look at him this season--no guarantees though.
If Luke Ridnour can't play, Wayne Ellington will get the start once again at shooting guard--which could be a very good thing as he stepped up in the Wolves last game--scoring 16pts. If Wesley Johnson isn't at 100% the Wolves will start Derrick Williams at the small forward again and bring Wes off the bench, though I'd expect if Wes is feeling better he'll start.
The biggest concerns for Minnesota, much like their past few games will be the question of depth. Their lack of depth was painful to watch on Monday vs. Houston, however, when the Timberwolves had the same number vs. Dallas--they showed a different and much more favorable result. The only question is--Which Timberwolves team will we be seeing Friday night vs. the Spurs? Wait, Watch & See, I suppose.
That's all for now, following the final horn the we'll have a full gameday recap of this one. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!