The Minnesota Timberwolves continue their three game road trip with their second stop in Sacramento on Thursday night. The big headline heading into this game will be the return of swingman Chase Budinger.
Chase has played only six games this season and he'll finally play in his seventh assuming the morning shootaround goes well. He'll provide depth behind Kirilenko at small forward and give a bit more size at shooting guard behind 6-foot starter Ridnour and 6-6, but physically weak Shved.
The biggest concern for Budinger will be conditioning, I'd expect to see him play about 20 minutes in this one.
Perhaps his return can boost these lowly Wolves. A Wolves team that hasn't won on the road for over 5 weeks. Losers of 8-straight away from Target Center and 16 of their last 17 road games, the Wolves may be able to find success against the Kings.
The Wolves have won the other two meetings this season. Both of those coming in the month of November. Nov. 2nd a 92-80 win at the Target Center & Nov. 27th a 97-89 win in Sacramento.
The Wolves will look to make it a third straight win assuming they can slow down a surging Kings team. Sacramento is coming off an impressive 116-101 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. The Kings outscored the Clippers 38-18 in the fourth quarter and held LA to just five field goals in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Kings shot 50.7% from the field in this game and went 14-for-28 from deep.
The Kings have also won 6 of their last 9 home games. Sacramento is averaging 113.1ppg in their last 11 contests and have gone 5-6 over that time.
If the Kings were to win this game, it would put them ahead of the Wolves in the standings. The Kings are currently ranked 13th in the Western Conference at 24-44, while the Wolves are 12th at 23-42. It'd be good come summer when the lotto balls are tumbling, but not so good right now when you're looking to stay competitive in a dismal, dismal season.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups for this one...
Isaiah Thomas has had plenty of success vs. the Timberwolves in the past four meetings of these teams. Thomas is averaging 16.8ppg and has hit 10-of-21 three point attempts. Having Ricky Rubio in the lineup and checking him on the defensive end, the TWolves should fair slightly better in this one.
To be completely honest, I'm just really looking forward to seeing Chase back on the court. I know we all are, tipoff is set for 9pmCT for this one, enjoy the game, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!