If the losing streak doesn't stop here I won't be having a good night. A loss to the Kings and extending this losing streak to six games isn't something any of us want.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are 5-7 on the season, 2-4 on the road and 2-4 vs. the Western Conference. The Sacramento Kings are 4-9 on the year, 4-4 at home, 3-5 vs. the West and 0-1 vs. the TWolves this season.
These two teams met in the season opener, which resulted in a 92-80 win for the Wolves. J.J. Barea came off the bench and dumped in 21pts in that one, slicing up the defense with his slashing, dishing and easy buckets.
Now, the Wolves are even better, even if their record as of late isn't reflecting that. There's no doubt that the Wolves are better with Kevin Love, however I think the Wolves would be EVEN better if Love take a few less shots. Give those touches to Nikola Pekovic. Clearly Love's hand is bothering him and it's throwing off his shot (he went 6-for-20 on Saturday).
Giving Kevin Love a few less touches is one adjustment the Wolves could make. A lineup change wouldn't be a bad idea either. It's clear that this Luke Ridnour/Malcolm Lee backcourt isn't working (they were outscored by the Warriors' starting backcourt--Curry & Thompson 2-44). Perhaps J.J. at point guard, Alexey or Howard at shooting guard, something needs to change. I won't pretend I know more than Adelman, though. If nothing changes, I still trust in him more than I ever could: Kurt Rambis, Kevin McHale, Randy Wittman, etc.
The Wolves will be without Ricky Rubio (rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery), Chase Budinger (recovering from recent knee surgery) and Brandon Roy (recovering from recent knee surgery). The Kings, on the other hand, have no significant injuries (currently).
The Wolves' last game came against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday (11.24). The Wolves blew yet another first half lead, this time in the fourth quarter for an 11-point loss, 85-96. Pekovic had 17pts & 6reb; Love added 15pts, 15reb & 2ast; Kirilenko finished with 11pts, 6reb, 3ast, 3stls and J.J. Barea added 8pts & 10ast off the bench.
The Kings' last game also came on Saturday night, a 108-97 win over the Utah Jazz. The Kings outscored the Jazz 32-19 in the third quarter to take control and finish with an 11-point victory. This was after suffering a loss to the Jazz in Utah one night before (102-104). In Saturday's win: Tyreke finished with 27pts, 5reb, 5ast & 2stls; Jason Thompson added 16pts, 9reb, 2ast & 1blk; DeMarcus Cousins had 14pts, 9reb & 3ast.
Let's take a look at each team's last five games...
The Wolves haven't registered a win since November 12th when they beat the Mavericks in Dallas, 90-82. The Kings, on the other hand have grabbed two wins over likely playoff teams in the Western Conference, the struggling L.A. Lakers and last season's 8th seed in the West, the Utah Jazz (nearly beating them twice on consecutive nights).
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
I assume Adelman sticks with this lineup. Although Lee is known as a pretty good perimeter defender, a matchup with a big guard like Evans who can muscle his way to the lane at will isn't something that'll favor Minnesota. I'm not too worried about Ridnour vs. Brooks, perhaps they'll put Kirilenko on Evans and Lee on Salmons. Salmons is still a better guard, but I like these matchups exponentially more.
That's all I've got for now, we'll have a full gameday recap of this one following the final horn, until then, tipoff is set for Tuesday at 9pmCT from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Thanks for reading HOWL, enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!