The 21-38 Minnesota Timberwolves are back from their one-game road trip in Denver and will face the 28-33 Dallas Mavericks at the Target Center, Sunday night.
The Mavericks are seeking a fourth win in five games, while the Timberwolves have lost seven of their last eight games. Since Nowitzki has returned from his knee injury on December 10th, the Mavs have gone 14-9. Dirk has been especially effective lately, averaging 18.5ppg on 50.4% FG in his last eight games.
The Wolves have lost 23 of their last 28 games, they're 14-15 at home, 11-25 in the West, 2-8 in their last ten games and 12th in the Western Conference. As the standings currently sit, the Wolves are two games ahead of the last place New Orleans Hornets (21-42).
The Mavs are 11-21 on the road, 16-22 in the West, 6-4 in their last 10 games and 3 games behind the T-8th place Jazz & Lakers. The Mavericks are looking to secure a playoff spot, but they'll have to leapfrog the Jazz, Lakers & the Trailblazers. The Blazers are just one game ahead of them in the standings.
The Wolves are 2-1 vs. the Mavericks this season. The Wolves won on Nov. 12 in Dallas, 90-82 and again on Dec. 15th in Minnesota with a 114-106 overtime win. The Mavericks won the most recent meeting on January 14th in Dallas, 98-113.
The Wolves had a chance to win a season series when they faced the Nuggets last night, but they lost 88-111 and the season series now sits at 2-2. Tonight they'll have a chance to win the season series vs. the Mavs.
The Timberwolves are averaging 87.8ppg, 39.7% FG and are 27-for-104 (26%) from three in their last six games.
Since winning 18 of the last 19 in this series, the Mavericks have lost 4 of their last 6 vs. the TWolves.
The Mavericks have made some recent transactions. They traded Dahntay Jones to the Atlanta Hawks for Anthony Morrow on the NBA Trade Deadline Day, last month. On Saturday, they waived seldom-used, former first-round pick Dominique Jones. Word is, they're looking to fill that last roster spot in the very near future.
The TWolves could use some more healthy bodies on the roster. They have just nine healthy players as they'll again be without Kevin Love (hand), Chase Budinger (knee), Andrei Kirilenko (calf), Nikola Pekovic (abdomen), Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee (knee/hip).
The Mavericks will be without guard Jared Cunningham who is dealing with a knee injury that is likely to keep him out for the remainder of the season. Anthony Morrow is dealing with some hip problems and may also miss this one. Shawn Marion injured his calf on March 8th and says he's unsure of his status for tonight's game.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
The Wolves have just four players off the bench: J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved, Dante Cunningham & Chris Johnson.
The biggest concerns in this one will be O.J. Mayo & Dirk Nowitzki. The Wolves lack a superior post defender that can contain his offensive onslaught. I'd expect to see Dante Cunningham log significant minutes against him defensively. If the Mavs start a James-Mayo backcourt, I'd expect Ridnour to guard James and Rubio to start out on Mayo. It may not happen that way, but it's clear that Rubio is the better defender and should start out against the Mavericks' leading scorer in this one.
This one will tip at 6pmCT 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!