The Timberwolves are right back in action tonight when they'll take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Target Center. This, following a blowout TWolves win in Detroit on Tuesday night.
This is the third of three meetings between these two teams this season and that means one last chance in 2012-13 that the Wolves will have to snap that inane 21-game losing streak to the L.A. Lakers. The Wolves haven't won a game vs. the Lakers since March 6, 2007. The result was a 117-107 double overtime win.
In the previous two meetings the Lakers cruised to double-digit victories: 2/1 vs. LAL, 111-100L & 2/28 @LAL, 116-94L.
The Lakers (36-35) are currently the 8th seed in the Western Conference, but thanks to a recent three-game losing streak, they're just one game ahead of #9 and in serious danger of slipping out of the playoffs. Let's hope they do just that!
During the Lakers' current three-game losing streak, Los Angeles is allowing opponents to shoot 42% from downtown. The Wolves have struggled shooting from deep this season (just 30%), however they've shot over 50% from 3PT in their last two games. The Wolves hit a season high 14 three-pointers in their win over Detroit on Tuesday.
The Wolves continue to play on without Kevin Love (hand), Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee (knee/hip). The Lakers will be without Jordan Hill who continues to recover from hip surgery and their starting small forward Metta World Peace. MWP tore his lateral meniscus in Monday's game vs. the Golden State Warriors. This is the same injury that Chase Budinger suffered on November 10th and he just returned late last week. It goes without saying that MWP's season is over.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
I assume Earl Clark will step back into a starter's role without Metta World Peace, however the Lakers could also choose to start Antawn Jamison (9.2P, 4.8R, 0.4S) at that small forward position.
The biggest concern will be Kobe Bryant. The Wolves simply don't have an answer for him defensively. The defender that could match up with him the best is Mickael Gelabale and since Chase Budinger has returned, Gelly has played in 3 of the 4 games and a combined 11 minutes (all of which were 'garbage' time--when the game was already decided). In the previous two meetings we saw a lot of 2-3 zone from the TWolves...I wouldn't be surprised to see some more of that--especially if Nikola Pekovic gets into early foul trouble.
This one is set for 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!