The Minnesota Timberwolves earned a much needed win last night in Detroit vs. the Pistons (121-94). The Timberwolves have had their hands full the past couple weeks with the level of talent they were facing: Houston, Indiana, Oklahoma City & Miami. Last night's opponent and tonight's matchup are a bit of a break in a tough schedule, but then it's back against the best of the West with upcoming opponents: San Antonio, Memphis & Portland.
The Sixers began the season 3-0, but have since gone 4-14. There's no doubt that the Sixers aren't looking to win right now as they're focused on the future--getting a high lottery selections in one of the best drafts in a long time this summer.
The Timberwolves are 10-11 on the year, 6-4 at home, 6-4 vs. the Eastern Conference and 3-7 in their last ten games. They'll have a chance to get back to .500 on the season tonight vs. the Sixers. Tonight's game at the Target Center is their lone home game in their next four outings.
The Sixers are 7-15 on the year, 1-8 on the road, 1-7 vs. the Western Conference, losers of three-straight and 2-8 in their last ten games. The Sixers have also dropped 11 of their last 13 games. Over that span where they've gone 2-11, losing all 11 of thos games by double-digits and their two wins came in overtime contests. It's not a surprise considering how this team was constructed--you knew that early-season success wasn't sustainable for a Sixers team that ultimately lacks a lot of proven NBA talent. The Sixers have lost three-straight games to Minnesota and 10 of the last 12 at the Target Center.
TWolves draftee Lorenzo Brown was waived prior to the start of the regular season by Minnesota and as such they no longer held his 'rights'. He went to the D-League, but didn't spend a whole lot of time there before being called up to the Sixers. Brown has played nine games for the Sixers and his playing time has increased the past few outings (with the injury to fellow rookie Michael Carter-Williams). In nine games he's averaging 2.6 points, 1 rebound, 1.1 assist, 0.4 steals and 0.1 turnovers in 7.7 minutes per game.
The Wolves faced the Sixers in the preseason this October and didn't have much trouble defeating them 125-102. After watching that game and then a week or so later hearing the Sixers defeated the defending champion Miami Heat, it was certainly...surprising.
The Wolves will be without Chase Budinger (knee) and Ronny Turiaf (elbow). Both are traveling with the team now which means their returns are likely in the not too distant future. Updates on both of them can be found in the Injury Report page on this site.
The Sixers will be without: Michael Carter-Williams (knee infection) will miss his fourth-straight game--he's been traveling with the team, but won't play until the infection clears up; Elliot Williams has been dealing with some back issues, but is expected to play; Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are recovering from surgeries and are both targeting an early-January return; rookie big man Nerlens Noel is still recovering from ACL surgery and is questionable to return this season.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
The key will be containing the "Big Three" of Philly: Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. With no true superstar in Philly they've been asked to do a lot more on both ends of the floor. They're all having great individual seasons. I actually have both Turner & Young on my fantasy team so I've kept close tabs on the both of them. Young's season has been a bit of up-and-down, but there's no question he's a solid combo forward in this league. Turner has really been fantastic this year, he's had a lot of very big games and hasn't had too many rough outings. The only demerit to his game would be all the turnovers (averaging 3.6 a game--in the Top 10 with Houston's James Harden leading the NBA with 4.0).
The past few meetings the Timberwolves seem to catch fire offensively against the Sixers, they did it last season in Philly, they did it when they met in the preseason a couple months ago and I'm hoping for it tonight too!
Tipoff is set for 7pmCST from the Target Center, enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!