After just one game back at the Target Center following that four-game West coast road trip, the TWolves head back on the road, this time for just two games--and on the East coast. The Wolves face the Sixers on Tuesday and the Celtics on Wednesday. Unfortunately they'll almost certainly be without their starting small forward for both of those games. Andrei Kirilenko is expected to miss the road trip with back spasms. This will be his third and fourth consecutive games missed.
The Timberwolves are 7-8 on the year, 3-5 on the road, 3-7 in their last ten games and winners of 2 of their last 4 games. The Sixers are 10-7 this season, 6-4 at home, 6-4 in their last ten games and winners of 3 of their last 4 games.
The Sixers were on a three-game winning streak heading into their game with Chicago on Saturday (12/1). Philly got crushed on the boards 50-37 and lost 88-93 to the Bulls. Jrue Holiday had 23pts, 3reb, 7ast, 2stls; Thaddeus Young added 22pts, 7reb, 1ast, 4stls, 4blks and Evan Turner finished with 12pts, 4reb, 7ast, 3stls.
The TWolves returned to the Target Center on Friday and defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 95-85. Five TWolves scored in double-digits and the Wolves bounced the Bucks in the Border Battle. Shved scored 16pts, 3reb, 5ast, 2stls; Ridnour added 16pts, 4reb, 2ast; J.J. started at shooting guard and tallied 15pts, 1reb, 5ast; K-Love was battling an illness but still had 15pts, 14reb, 1stl and Nikola Pekovic dominated with 14pts, 16reb (new season-high/tied a career-high), 1ast, 2stls, 3blks.
The Timberwolves will continue to be without Brandon Roy/Chase Budinger/Ricky Rubio (as they all recover from knee surgeries), Andrei Kirilenko is out with back spasms and Malcolm Lee (groin) & Kevin Love (illness) are both expected to play. The 76ers are expected to be without Nick Young who missed Saturday's game with a hyperextended left big toe.
Like the Miami Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers have been playing with a 'small-ball' lineup. I say, 'like the Miami Heat' because they're the team everyone talks about when you're discussing starting lineups without a true center. The Minnesota Timberwolves are the complete opposite of a 'small-ball' lineup. The TWolves have one of the most physical imposing starting frontlines in the NBA. The Sixers start a frontcourt of Thaddeus Young & Lavoy Allen. Philadelphia was a part of the trade that sent Dwight Howard to L.A., Andre Iguodala to Denver and Andrew Bynum to Philly. Unfortunately Bynum has had numerous setbacks with his knees and the Sixers have ultimately left his return up to him, he does have an MRI set for Dec. 10th.
With this in mind, let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
With Andrei Kirilenko out, the TWolves will likely continue to start Josh Howard at small forward. Both Kevin Love & Malcolm Lee practiced on Monday and are expected to be able to play. It's uncertain whether Adelman puts Lee back in the starting lineup or sticks with J.J. Barea (8.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.4apg) as his starting shooting guard.
For the Sixers, they may decide to start Spencer Hawes (7.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2bpg) at center in this one, to better match up with Minnesota's big starting frontline. If not, expect Adelman to exploit that advantage all night.
These two teams match up very well offensively and defensively. The Wolves average 92.5ppg, the 76ers 93.1. The Wolves allow 92.6ppg, the 76ers allow 93.9ppg. The play of Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic will be key in a Wolves victory.
That's all for now, tipoff for this one is set for 6pmCT and a full gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!