The Minnesota Timberwolves have rattled off three VERY disappointing defensive efforts. In the Wolves' last three outings, they've allowed their opponents to shoot 50% or better from both the three-point line and from the field! It's no surprise that Minnesota is on a three-game losing streak, considering how poor their effort has been on defense. There's been little to no resistance as the Wolves are allowing opponents to get any and every look they want.
Minnesota hasn't played since Wednesday when they dropped another one to the Denver Nuggets. Adelman gave his team Thursday off to spend with their families for Thanksgiving before returning to practice on Friday. According to the team's official website, the went through a film session and then worked extensively on their defensive sets.
The Wolves have lost three-straight and five of their last six games overall. During Minnesota's three-game skid they're allowing an average of 109 points per game. Minnesota has also dropped five-straight game on the road. During that road skid they're allowing an average of 108 points per game. The Timberwolves have also dropped 8 of their last 9 games. During that span they've allowed 42 points or more in the paint. Denver had 60 points in the paint on Wednesday night.
The Wolves are meeting a Dallas squad they've already defeated this season. The first meeting came in Minnesota where the Wolves won 116-108 on November 8th. Kevin Love & Kevin Martin scored 32 points apiece and Love added 15 rebounds & 8 assists in the win. The Timberwolves are 4-0 this season when Kevin Martin scores 30 points or more.
The Mavericks have been very good at home this season going 8-1 in Dallas. In those nine games the Mavs are averaging 108.8 points. Despite Dallas' solid play at home this season, they've hit a bit of a rough patch lately. The Mavericks have dropped three of their last four games. In their most recent outing the Mavs had one of their worst offensive nights of the season. Last night in Atlanta the Hawks came back from a 17-point deficit to have Al Horford hit a 20-foot jumper with 4.2 seconds to play for the one-point victory, 88-89. The Hawks came back from that double digit deficit thanks in large part to them holding the Mavericks scoreless over the final 3:26 to play.
The Timberwolves will be without Chase Budinger (knee) and Ronny Turiaf (elbow) in this one. Updates on their returns can be found under the Team Report--Injury Report section. The team remains hopeful that both will be back before Christmas. Newly acquired forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was excused from practice on Friday so that he could return to Sacramento for "personal reasons". This of course means that he still hasn't gone through a practice with the team. He reportedly flew from Sacramento to Dallas and met the team. Adelman said that he will try to go through some sets with him in shootaround on Saturday morning. It sounds that despite having no practice time with the team, he'll likely make his TWolves debut tonight in Dallas.
The Mavericks will be without Devin Harris (toe) he has yet to play this season, but hopes to return before Christmas; Brandan Wright (shoulder) did some 5-on-0 sets a week ago, but he won't return in this one. Monta Ellis is dealing with some ankle & back soreness, but he continues to play through it. Jose Calderon went down with an ankle sprain in the third quarter of yesterday's loss in Atlanta. He didn't return and his condition for tonight's contest is questionable. If he's unable to go one of the rookies (Shane Larkin or Gal Mekel) will likely get the start at point guard.
Let's take a look at tonight's potential starting lineups...
The Wolves are going up against a very good offensive team that averages 104.4 a game. If the Wolves want to have any chance of winning they'll have to slow down Dallas' two twenty-point scorers (Ellis & Nowitzki). Monta & Dirk are a versatile and lethal duo--much like Minnesota's Kevin Martin & Kevin Love.
If Calderon is unable to go, the Mavericks may turn to Monta Ellis to run the point a bit more. That could be good news for Dallas. The Mavs are 9-0 when Ellis dishes at least five assists in a game. Alternatively, they're 1-7 when he finishes with four or fewer assists.
If Minnesota wants to snap this losing skid they have to commit to defense and let their high-octane offense be fueled by their defensive stops. That means 48-full minutes of committed defense!
This one will tip at 7:30pmCST from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!