The Miami Heat will play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, which will end a short two-game road trip in Florida. The Minnesota Timberwolves will be looking to avenge a loss to the Orlando Magic last night, while the Heat will look to build off one of their best defensive nights of the season after holding the Wizards to just 72 points in their last outing.
Minnesota is 12-10 on the season, 5-7 on the road and 7-3 in their last ten games. They'll be looking to start a new winning streak vs. the defending champion Miami Heat who are 15-6 on the year, 11-2 at home and are also 7-3 in their last ten games.
Minnesota's winning streak was halted at four games with last night's loss to the Magic and tonight the Heat will look to continue a streak of their own over the TWolves. Miami will be looking for a fifth-straight win over Minnesota.
Minnesota will have to start a new streak without their star point guard, Ricky Rubio. The medical staff has decided that Ricky won't play in back-to-back games right away, now that he's returned from reconstructive knee surgery. Ricky played 16 minutes last night vs. the Magic and finished with 2 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
Unfortunately he isn't the only Wolf that'll miss this game in Miami. Brandon Roy is rehabbing from knee surgery and is expected to return to practice later this week. Budinger is out until March as he rehabs from that torn lateral meniscus. Bud tweeted this out earlier today via Twitter, "Things looking good with rehab!" Josh Howard is dealing with a hyperextended knee, but he's targeting a Sunday return vs. the New York Knicks. Malcolm Lee is listed as out indefinitely with what they're calling a chrondal knee injury. Reports said that Nikola Pekovic had his back examined by doctors in Orlando following that loss to the Magic. Ultimately the classified it as just a sore back. I assume he'll be on the active roster and start at center. And let's hope that's the case as he's averaged 23.3ppg & 9.3rpg in Minny's last four games.
The Miami Heat have been a bit more fortunate with injuries this season. Terrel Harris is the only player on the IR. He's listed as questionable after he missed Monday's practice with an illness. Ray Allen took a shot to the face/eye in Monday's practice, however he's expected to play tonight.
Let's take a look at each team's last games...
Kevin Love seemed to get back on track last night vs. the Magic, at least offensively. He shot 10-of-20 from the field after shooting 30% from the field in his previous seven games. Hopefully it's a turning point and he'll get back to the production and efficiency we've become accustomed to these past few seasons.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
The TWolves' biggest concern will be dealing with that Big Three. I don't have to tell you that though, I assume we all know that any one of those guys can carry the Heat to a victory any given night. I'm most excited to see the Kirilenko-LeBron matchup, AK is the clear defensive anchor of our squad and it'll be interesting to see the final stat line of LBJ in this one. I am most concerned however with who defends Wade. Can Alexey be expected to lockdown one of the best shooting guards in the NBA and in the history of the NBA? I'll guess we'll find out soon enough.
Tipoff for this one is set for 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!