The Minnesota Timberwolves have the same record they did one year ago. Minnesota started 2012-13 with a 5-3 record, but then lost their next five-straight games. I don't expect the 2013-14 Timberwolves to lose their next five games, especially considering who they're facing (Cleveland, Denver, Boston, Washington & the L.A. Clippers).
The Cleveland Cavaliers have started the season 0-5 on the road and 3-0 at home. Unfortunately for them, they're traveling to the Target Center this evening. In their five road losses they're averaging just 84.4 points on 38.4% shooting. This 0-5 start is Cleveland's worst road start since they went 0-13 to begin the 2003-04 season.
The Timberwolves are 5-3 on the year, 3-1 at home and 2-1 vs. the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are 3-5 on the season, 0-5 on the road and 1-0 vs. the Western Conference.
Cleveland's one game (and one win) against a Western Conference foe came last Monday when they defeated the Timberwolves 92-93. The Wolves found themselves down as many as 23 points in that one, but they battled all the way back and Kevin Love had a chance to win the game, but a three-pointer with 1.9 seconds to go that missed the mark, lost Minnesota a very winnable game.
The same held true this past Monday when the Timberwolves found themselves down by 11 with just over five minutes to play, but thanks to Kevin Love & Kevin Martin, the Wolves went on a run and with just over 11 seconds to play the Wolves had the ball and were only down by two points. Kevin Martin drove to the elbow and put up a contested 17-footer that missed, Nikola Peković corralled the rebound and got it back up--it just barely rimmed out and then Kevin Love snatched the board and tried to quickly tip it in, it hung on the rim and then rolled off as time expired and the Wolves lost.
The Cavaliers are coming off an 81-96 lost to the Chicago Bulls on Monday. The Cavs turned the ball over twenty times that led to twenty-nine Chicago points. Tristan Thompson led the way with 14 points & 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 16 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists, but shot 5-for-19 from the field and key reserve Jarrett Jack missed all six of the shots he took.
The Wolves have gone 2-2 since losing to Cleveland a week-and-a-half ago. The Cavs have gone 1-3 in that same stretch.
Andrew Bynum got his first start of the season on Monday vs. the Bulls. He finished with 11 points & 6 rebounds in a season-high 21 minutes. Now, we won't play the next two games...but it's not because of an injury. Bynum has been excused from the team for the next two games to deal with a "personal family matter". Anderson Varejao will start at center for this one. The Cavs will also be without rookie swingman Carrick Felix (mild sports hernia) and there is a chance that fellow rookie & #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett (shoulder) may not play--he sat out Monday in Chicago.
The Wolves will be without Chase Budinger (knee) and Ronny Turiaf (elbow). You can find updates about the both of them in the Injury Report.
Let's take a look at the probable starters for this one...
Nikola Peković finally got his season on track this past Monday vs. the Clippers. He scored 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting--while also adding 10 rebounds. He should find similar success a worse interior defender: Varejao (compared to LAC's DeAndre Jordan).
Kevin Love was held to a season-low 17 points on 8-of-20 shooting in the last matchup vs. the Cavs. I wouldn't expect a similar outing from him in this one. That was undoubtedly Love's worst season performance and he's taken it to a number of other more prominent defensive squads.
The last time these two teams played it was the play from Kyrie Irving and reserve swingman C.J. Miles. Miles absolutely destroyed the Wolves tallying a lot of easy buckets. That's part of the ongoing bench problem in Minnesota. I've decided to just quit talking about it and stop saying the same: "Hopefully J.J. Barea & Co. can get back on track in this one" in each and every preview...here's hoping they do, though!
The Wolves got down early in their loss to Cleveland last week and then had to play catch up over the final 30+ minutes. They can't dig themselves an early hole and expect to go on a big run each game for a chance to win in the final minutes (that clearly hasn't worked so well this season).
That's all for now, this one tips at 7pmCT, enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!