The Minnesota Timberwolves will have their big first test of the 2013-14 regular season as they take on the Golden State Warriors at the Target Center on Wednesday night.
The Wolves have lost six-straight games to the Golden State Warriors, which includes 0-4 vs. GSW last season. The Wolves haven't beaten the Warriors at the Target Center since February 27, 2011 when they snuck away with a three-point victory (126-123). The Wolves have lost four-straight to Golden State in Minneapolis at the Target Center.
Since 2010-11 the Wolves are 2-9 vs. Golden State and since 2004-05 Golden State has won 22 of 32 games vs. Minnesota.
In the six-straight losses to Golden State the Wolves are scoring just 92.2 points per game while allowing 99.5.
The last time the Wolves didn't lose the season series was in 2008-09 when they went 2-2 and the last time they won the season series was in 2004-05 when the Wolves went 2-1.
Both of these teams are 3-1 this season. Minnesota's lone loss came on Monday when they lost to the Cavaliers, despite having a chance to win it at the buzzer. The Warriors have won their last two games, but in their second game of the season they lost to the L.A. Clippers, 115-126. The Wolves are 2-0 at home and the Warriors are 1-1 on the road. This is just the second Western Conference team the Wolves have faced this season, they handed the Thunder a loss in their second game of the season.
The Timberwolves have the sixth-best offense (105.3 pts per game), they have the 9th-best rebounding totals (44.8), eighth in assists (23.0) and the eleventh-best defense (97.3). The Warriors have the second-best offense (112.0), they're tied with the Wolves at ninth in rebounding (44.8), first in assists (29.0) and they're ranked eighteenth in defense with 99.3 points allowed per game.
This is a new Minnesota Timberwolves squad with some new faces (Martin & Brewer namely), but the Golden State Warriors added a bit of firepower to their roster themselves. They signed swingman Andre Iguodala to a four-year deal. Because of that, they were unable to re-sign their key reserves: Jarrett Jack & Carl Landry. They replaced them with guard Toney Douglas and big men Marreese Speights and vet Jermaine O'Neal.
The Warriors will be without second-year center Festus Ezeli who underwent knee surgery that will keep him out until at least January/February. Fellow second-year player Harrison Barnes (foot) has not yet played this season either. He is traveling with the team and he was expected to practice on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if he'll play on Wednesday, but if he does he'll be Golden State's sixth man behind starters Iguodala & Klay Thompson.
The Wolves will be without Chase Budinger as he continues to rehab from knee surgery. Ronny Turiaf is also out for this one with that fractured elbow.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starters...
The Timberwolves' defense will get their biggest test of the season. The Wolves let Kyrie Irving and C.J. Miles walk all over them in the second and third quarters of their loss to the Cavaliers on Monday.
The Warriors have three 20-point scorers and a versatile swingman in Iguodala. All are capable of dropping 30 points on any given night.
The most likely scenario is that we'll have a 'Shootout'. A back-and-forth, very little defense, high-scoring affair. A "Race to 130" kind of a game. Both teams are capable of playing 'decent' defense, but it's likely that it'll be all O and no D in this one.
The biggest concern will be the three-point shooting from Curry, Thompson and Iguodala. Curry & Thompson are two of the best three-point shooters in the game and Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer HAVE to chase them off the line and force them into the paint to meet the big bodies of Kevin Love & Nikola Peković. Of course, neither of Minnesota's starting big men are known for their rim protection, but they need to figure out some sort of defensive scheme that will keep this from being big nights for all involved.
That's all for now, this one will tip at 7pmCT from the Target Center. GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!