The slumping Minnesota Timberwolves will face the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday evening in hopes of handing San Antonio just their third home loss on the season.
Minnesota is 16-17 this season, 6-12 on the road, 9-10 in the Western Conference, 4-6 in the last ten games, losers of two straight and currently ranked 10th in the West. San Antonio is 28-11 this season, 15-2 at home, 15-8 in the Western Conference, 7-3 in their last ten games and currently ranked 3rd in the West.
The Wolves are definitely struggling as of late, dropping 8 of their last 12 games including a 1-6 mark on the road.
The Spurs have always been a great 'home' team, as most opposing teams coming into the AT&T Center find themselves leaving losers. The Spurs will be looking to capture their 12th straight home win in this one. History could serve them well too as the TWolves haven't won a game in San Antonio since the 2003-04 season!
The Wolves did win two of their three meetings a season ago, but lost the last contest (in San Antonio, of course) 100-116.
With so many injuries the Wolves are clearly at a BIG disadvantage. The last time out (@NOH) the Wolves have just nine healthy players and that lack of depth was definitely exposed in the second half.
Minnesota will be without Kevin Love (hand), Brandon Roy (knee), Chase Budinger (knee) and Malcolm Lee (knee). Love could return sometime in March and would be available assuming Minnesota makes the playoffs. No one really knows if Brandon Roy will be returning to the court, last I heard he was undergoing a non-invasive/non-surgical treatment that would put him back on the court in 2-3 weeks...that was about 2 weeks ago. Chase Budinger had a checkup this past week in Florida and is still about two months away, making his return early-mid March. Malcolm Lee will be undergoing two surgeries in New York this week (one on the cartilage in his knee and the other on his hip) and is done for the season. J.J. Barea has missed the last two games with back spasms and there's a good chance he'll be out for this one as well. He's currently listed as day-to-day. Lazar Hayward missed Friday's game in New Orleans with 'flu-like symptoms'. I assume he'll be available, but that remains to be seen, we'll have an update on J.J. & Lazar's status' prior to tipoff.
For the third consecutive game (OKC, NOH and now SAS) the Wolves are facing an opponent that has a full roster with no significant injuries! Not only do the Spurs have a full roster, they also have some very good depth on the bench with a second unit like this: Gary Neal, Manu Ginobli, Stephen Jackson, Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw. Those five will be going up against a second unit for MIN of: Ricky Rubio, Lazar Hayward, Derrick Williams, Lou Amundson and Greg Stiemsma...yikes! Here's hoping J.J. can play tonight!
The last time out the Spurs faced the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday (1/11). The result was a 98-101 overtime loss. Tony Parker hit a 27-foot buzzer beater to force overtime. The Grizz outscored the Spurs 3-6 in overtime. Rudy Gay knocked down a 14-foot mid-range jumper with 27.8 seconds to play to seal a Memphis W. Tony Parker had 30pts, 1reb, 5ast; Manu Ginobli added 14pts, 6reb, 5ast, 1stl off the bench and Tim Duncan finished with 13pts, 15reb, 4ast & 3blks.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
Nikola Pekovic is averaging 20.3P on 59.6% field goal as well as 12.3R in his last four games while only playing 28.3 minutes a game! It's clear his strained hip is still bothering him or at least the Wolves are being cautious with him as he's played 29 & 27 minutes in his last two games. As always, his inside dominance will be a big key if the Wolves want to stay competitive in this one.
Tipoff 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!