The Minnesota Timberwolves will FINALLY be back in action on Wednesday night vs. the Denver Nuggets, after four days off. Their last game was on Friday night at the Target Center vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tonight, they'll be facing the Denver Nuggets who have played two games during Minnesota's four days off.
The Wolves come into this one 9-9, 5-3 at home, 3-5 vs. the Western Conference, 0-2 vs. the Northwest division and 4-6 in their last ten games. The Denver Nuggets are also .500 on the year at 11-11 as well as 6-10 on the road, 7-5 vs. the West, 2-1 vs. the Northwest and 5-5 in their last ten games.
The big question on every Wolves fans mind is WILL RICKY PLAY?!! The TWolves got a surprise debut from Kevin Love the last time they faced the Nuggets. According to Darren Wolfson, he received and email from a TWolves source that said Ricky wouldn't debut tonight, but his return is close. Other reports say the Wolves haven't ruled out him playing. It's sounding as though, if it's up to Ricky he'll be on the court. If he does in fact play, it will be in limited minutes (likely 14-16).
The Wolves will be without Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger as they continue to rehab following knee surgeries. Roy to the Target Center this week and began lifting weights as well as doing some shooting. I'd say there's a chance we could see him back on the practice court within the next week or so and maybe back on the active roster by the new year (if not sooner).
For the Nuggets, they'll be without Wilson Chandler and Juylan Stone as they both recover from hip surgeries that have kept them out for extended periods of time. Chandler is listed as 'out indefinitely', while Stone seems to be targeting a January return.
The Wolves last game came on Friday (12/7) vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. Without their two leading scorers (Kyrie Irving & Dion Waiters), the Wolves made short work of the Cavaliers as they defeated CLE 91-73. Kevin Love scored a season-high 36 points and added 13reb, 1stl, 1blk; Ridnour finished with 12pts, 5reb, 7ast, 1stl and Kirilenko returned to the lineup and had another GREAT all-around game with 8pts, 7reb, 6ast, 4stl, 3blks.
Denver played their last game, last night (12/11) vs. the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons got rolling early as they built a 17-point lead in the first five minutes of play (21-4). George Karl then sent his reserves into the game and they were able to take over (thanks to play from McGee, Miller & Brewer). The Nuggets held a 6-8 point lead for the majority of the second half for the 101-94 win. Ty Lawson had 26pts, 5reb, 7ast, 4stls; Former Wolf Corey Brewer added 15pts, 1reb, 1ast and Andre Miller came off the bench to add 11pts, 2reb, 7ast and 3stls.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
If Rubio does play tonight, I wonder if Adelman will decide to throw him right into the starting lineup. Could we get our first look at that Rubio-Shved backcourt? Will Luke start at shooting guard? Will RA keep Lee in the lineup as his defensive stopper alongside Rubio? Honestly, I doubt that Rubio plays and even if he does I don't see Adelman placing him directly into the starting lineup, unless it's decided that they want to start him so his knee doesn't tighten up on the bench following the warmups. A lot of questions heading into this one.
Ultimately, I hope the TWolves get the win--this is a team they've struggled mightily against in recent years. In fact the Nuggets have won 20 of the last 22 matchups between these two teams.
Tipoff for this one is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center and a full gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!