The 27-46 Minnesota Timberwolves did the 36-37 Milwaukee Bucks a favor on Monday night when they defeated the Boston Celtics. That win for the Wolves reduced the gap between Boston & Milwaukee to just 1.5 games.
The Bucks are currently #8 in the Eastern Conference standings and seem well on their way to their first postseason in three years. With Boston at #7, the Bucks hope to catch them for on very big reason: #8 is going to have to face the Miami Heat in the first round.
Tonight the Wolves are looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since December. They'll have some hurdles to overcome. The Wolves have lost 7 of 8 in Milwaukee, which includes three-straight.
The Wolves defeated the Bucks in their other lone meeting this season back on November 30th. The Wolves pulled out a 95-85 win at home despite a triple-double from MIP-candidate Larry Sanders.
While the Bucks are looking to clinch a playoff spot, the Wolves will miss the playoffs, once again...for a ninth-consecutive season. With the Bucks holding a six-game advantage over #9 Philadelphia, it wouldn't take a major collapse to find themselves on the outside looking in when the 2013 Postseason begins. As of right now, the 'magic number' of wins that Milwaukee needs to clinch a playoff berth stands at 3 games.
While the Bucks will be looking to lock up a playoff spot, the Wolves are looking to get one win closer to 1000 career wins for Coach Adelman. As it stands going into this one, Rick has 998 and the Wolves should be able to grab two more W's before the season ends.
The Wolves continue to play on without Kevin Love (hand), Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee (knee/hip). The Bucks had two players not practice on Tuesday and both are questionable for tonight's game. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute missed practice with an illness and Gustavo Ayon missed with a knee injury.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
The battle of the backcourt should be interesting. For once it's not a matter of the Wolves having a HUGE disadvantage with a big scoring two-guard. However, Luke Ridnour will still have to be matched up against a Top 5 shooting guard in the NBA: Monta Ellis.
The battle in the paint should also be quite a lot of fun. The Wolves hold a big physical advantage with Pekovic down low against Larry Sanders. There's no doubt Sanders will send a couple of his shots back, but expect Nikola to just bully down there. If Pek's last two games are any indicator (22-15 & 29-5) he should have no problem going for a 20-10 tonight. Sanders has been playing well lately, in the last 12 games he's averaging 14.1ppg & 11.7rpg.
The Wolves need to contain Milwaukee's three guards: Jennings, Ellis & (J.J.) Redick. That means running them off the three-point lane, limiting fast break opportunities and when they slash to the lane the bigs need to collapse and stop penetration.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT, enjoy the game, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!