The TWolves have started their East coast road trip 1-0 and hope to finish it 2-0 with a victory of the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden, tonight.
The Wolves breezed past the Sixers last night in Philadelphia as the bench exploded for 57 points, the Wolves shot 53% from the field and 52% from deep. The Wolves also had seven players in double figures (none of which were K-Love or Nik Pek, who both scored 6 apiece). Alexey Shved finished with 17pts, 3reb, 4ast, 1blk; Howard (filling in for AK) had his best game as a Wolf w/16pts, 10reb, 1stl; Barea had his first point/assist double-double of the season with 11pts, 2reb, 10ast, 1stl. The other Wolves in double figures: Cunningham (13), Williams (10), Lee (10) and Ridnour (10).
The Celtics have played the last two games without their all-star point guard: Rajon Rondo. He's been out because of that 'altercation' with Kris Humphries in their game vs. the Nets (11/28, a 83-95L). The Celtics went 1-1 without him and will be thrilled to get him back in the lineup, running the point. The Celts are coming off an 88-91 loss to the Bucks on 12/1. Boston scored the first 17 points of the game to jump out to an early 27-11 first quarter lead, the Bucks bounced back with a 36-point second quarter and edged Boston in the second half. Pierce finished with 19pts, 5reb, 6ast, 3stls, 1blk; Jeff Green added 18pts, 6reb, 1blk off the bench; KG had 17pts, 7reb, 4ast, 1stl, 1blk and Jason Terry added 15pts, 3reb, 11ast, 3stls paired up with Courtney Lee in the backcourt.
The Timberwolves will be without Andrei Kirilenko for the fourth straight game as he misses another one with back spasms. Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger all remain out, as they recover from knee surgeries. For the Celtics, Avery Bradley remains out as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery, he has yet to play this season, though he is targeting a mid-December return. Rondo will be back following that two-game suspension and Leandro Barbosa is questionable for tonight's game after missing practice on Tuesday with an 'illness'.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups for this one...
I like the matchup between Malcolm Lee & Jason Terry. We should get a better understanding of whether Lee is the defensive stopper he's been labeled. I do wish we had Kirilenko back to guard the Celts' leading scorer: Paul Pierce. Josh Howard should be more than capable, however. It should be an interesting frontcourt matchup, we'll see if the Celtics opt to guard Bass-Love, KG-Pek or if KG will guard the better of the two: Love (even though he's been struggling as of late). We have an advantage on the offensive end at PF & C and should look to exploit that. However, we had an even bigger advantage yesterday vs. the Sixers and the combined for 12pts on the night.
Currently the Wolves boast the 4th best defense in the NBA, allowing just 92.3 a game AND the 4th best rebounding team in the League with 45.4 a game. They'll be matched up against the worst rebounding team in the NBA, the Celtics are averaging a League-worst 37.4 rebounds a game, but (thanks in mostly to Rondo) Boston is the second-best assist team in the NBA, at 23.5 a game.
That's all for now, this one tips at 6:30pmCT 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!