The Minnesota Timberwolves are FINALLY back in action after a four day (much needed) break. The Wolves' last game came on Friday (11/16) vs. the Golden State Warriors. During that time, the TWolves' Wednesday opponent, the Denver Nuggets have played two games (a 26-point loss to the Spurs on Saturday and a 5-point win over Memphis on Monday).
Minnesota is 5-4 on the year, 2-2 at the Target Center (dropped their last two vs. Charlotte & Golden State) and 2-1 vs. Western Conference foes. Denver is 5-6 on the year, 3-5 on the road and 4-2 vs. the Western Conference. The TWolves are the only Northwest team that hasn't faced a fellow Northwest opponent (all others have faced one, once).
The Timberwolves' last game was that Friday (11/16) night loss to the Golden State Warriors at the Target Center; 98-106. The Warriors absolutely dominated in points in the paint, holding a 58-22 advantage. The Wolves were able to get within three points in the final minutes thanks to the play of Alexey Shved (22pts, 3reb, 7ast, 1blk), Derrick Williams (23pts, 7reb, 2ast, 4blks), Andrei Kirilenko (18pts, 6reb, 4blks) and Dante Cunningham (14pts, 6reb, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk).
The Nuggets' last game came on Monday night vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, when they were able to hand the Grizzlies their second loss of the season. A three-pointer from Danilo Gallinari with just 13 seconds to play, sealed the Nuggets W and snapped Memphis' 8-game winning streak. Gallinari finished with 26pts, 5reb, 3ast, 1stl, 1blk; reserve center JaVale McGee added 15pts, 8reb, 1blk and Kenneth Faried added 13pts & 13reb.
Let's get on to what we're all interested in...who's available for Wednesday's game?! Well, Kevin Love (hand), Ricky Rubio (knee), Chase Budinger (knee) and Brandon Roy (knee) are all out for Wednesday's game. Bud & Roy are both coming off knee surgeries. Bud will be out for 3-4 months and Roy for one month. That leaves J.J. Barea (foot) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle). Pekovic will play on Wednesday and will be a welcome addition after the Wolves got pummeled in the paint on Friday. J.J. Barea participated in practice and said he felt good afterwards. Also adding that if he feels as good as he did today (11/20), he'll definitely play some spot minutes off the bench on Wednesday.
For the Nuggets, point guard Juylan Stone is out while he recovers from hip surgery. Forward Wilson Chandler is also recovering from hip surgery, he's also out and it's likely he won't return until early December. Lastly, former TWolf Anthony Randolph has been dealing with an ankle injury and will be a gametime decision for this one.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups for each team...
With Brandon Roy out for the next month, I think we're all interested in who starts at shooting guard. It's probable that Adelman continues to start second-year player Malcolm Lee at shooting guard (for his defense) while continuing to bring Alexey Shved off the bench and also having Josh Howard play some shooting guard. Having Nikola back in the middle will be a HUGE difference, starting opposite him: former TWolf Kosta Koufos. Kouf is one of three former Wolves on the Nuggets' roster, along with big man Anthony Randolph and swingman Corey Brewer.
The Timberwolves currently have a Top-5 defense in the NBA allowing just 90.4ppg (4th overall). The Nuggets have one of the worst defenses in the NBA (ranked 24th overall) allowing 100ppg. Having Nikola back will help on the boards as well and they'll definitely need it, as they're going up against the best rebounding team in the NBA (1st overall) grabbing 49.3 a game.
That's all for now. Tipoff is set for 7pmCT 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!