The Miami Heat have rattled off 14-consecutive wins which ties a franchise record for their organization. They travel to Minnesota on Monday and look to set a new mark at the Target Center, with a 15-straight win.
When you've got LeBron James suiting up for you, it's no surprise that the Heat are absolutely dominating the League. In LeBron the Heat have the best player in the NBA and maybe the best athlete the sports world has ever seen. I'll be honest, I don't exactly 'hate' LeBron, but he's certainly not a player I cheer for. You can love him or hate him, but at the end of the day you've got to respect him!
Unfortunately this one is likely to be a 'laugher' when it's all said and done. A blowout is likely on the way. The reason is simple...
With no Kevin Love (the Wolves' best player) this one would already be an 'unfair fight', but throw in two of the Wolves' other starters and number of key role players and I'm not even sure I want to tune in to this one!
According to the ratings, not too many of you do either! The Wolves broadcasts have reached rock bottom for the season as a number of the last few broadcasts have had little to no viewership. I don't blame you, it's been rough to watch--you can trust me, I've missed maybe three total games thus far this season.
This is the second of two meetings between the Wolves & the Heat. The first matchup came on 12/18 in Miami, which resulted in a 103-92 Miami win. The Wolves held an unbelievable rebounding advantage in that one, a +29 (53-24). Kirilenko finished with 22pts, 4reb, 2ast, 1stl; Pek added 18pts, 12reb, 1stl & Kevin Love had 11pts, 18reb, 3ast. Unfortunately none of them will suit up for this one. LBJ finished with 22pts, 6reb, 11ast, 1stl & D-Wade added 24pts, 3reb, 4ast, 2stls & 2blks.
Since the last time these two teams met, the Heat have signed a few big men to hopefully help with those rebounding numbers. Chris Andersen was signed to two 10-day contracts, before being signed for the remainder of the season. Jarvis Varnado came back to Miami after a short stint with the Boston Celtics. And most recently, Juwan Howard signed a 10-day contract. I don't see the purpose of signing Howard, he won't contribute much on the court, perhaps it's his locker room presence or perhaps they just want to hand him another championship ring.
Over Miami's 14-games winning streak they're averaging 107.7 points a game on 51.6% FG. The Heat have also won five-straight over the TWolves. Over that time they're averaging 108.6 points per game. LeBron James has had plenty of success at Target Center. Over the past seven games at TC (two games w/Miami) he's averaging 32.6 points per game on 54.8% FG. Over the last seven games in Minnesota, D-Wade is averaging 29.4 points per game.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups for this one...
I wouldn't be too surprised if Adelman decides to start Dante Cunningham (8.1P, 5.1R, 1S) in place of Gelabale at the small forward position. If you remember two games ago, Rick started a Dante-Derrick forward combo in order to match up against Kobe Bryant, Earl Clark & Metta World Peace. It wouldn't shock me if Cunningham was the player who starts out guarding LeBron.
The biggest concerns will obviously be the "Big Three": LeBron, Wade & Bosh. However, the Heat have put some pretty solid role players around them in Ray Allen, Chris Andersen & Shane Battier that can all contribute.
I wouldn't be surprised to see more of that 2-3 zone defense that the Wolves have used these past two games. It's clear with the nine healthy players (Rubio, Barea, Ridnour, Shved, Gelabale, Williams, Cunningham, Stiemsma & Johnson) the Wolves have no chance of matching up defensively with the defending champions.
The Wolves have lost 21 of their last 25 games, including 5-straight. Unfortunately those numbers will likely continue to rise. Tonight's game will tip at 7pmCT from the Target Center, enjoy the game thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!