The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking for a bounce-back win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday at the Target Center after suffering a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
The Wolves were down 71-85 with just over four minutes to play, but they used a 16-2 run to tie the game at 87 with 12.3 seconds to play. Kemba Walker brought the ball up and hit a step-back jumper over Alexey Shved for the one-point, 89-87 victory. Minnesota shot just 54.1% from the free throw line, leaving 17 points at the line (20-for-37). Kirilenko finished with 26pts, 12reb, 2ast, 1stl, 2blks, shot 9-of-12 from the field, 3-for-3 from deep in 44 minutes; Luke added 16pts, 5reb, 10ast and 2stls and Shved added 13pts, 2reb and 2ast.
Minnesota is 5-3 on the year and 3-1 at the Target Center, they're also 2-0 vs. Western Conference opponents (wins over Dallas & Sacramento). The Warriors are 4-4 on the year, 2-2 on the road and 2-4 vs. Western Conference opponents.
The Warriors' last game came against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, a 92-88 win. Rookie Harrison Barnes had a great game and thanks to him they were able to eke out that W. Barnes finished with 19pts, 13reb, 1ast and 1stl in 40 minutes; David Lee added 18pts, 10reb and 5ast.
I'll actually be at Friday night's game! You can follow me @donnycersado for some in-game updates. I'm just hoping that there will be enough healthy TWolves players in this one...
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be without Kevin Love (OUT-broken hand), Ricky Rubio (OUT-rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery) and Chase Budinger (OUT-torn lateral meniscus). J.J. Barea (mid-foot sprain), Brandon Roy (sore knee) and Nikola Pekovic (sprained ankle) will be game-time decisions in this one. Honestly, I think the Wolves should let them all sit this one and have those three players (Roy, Barea, Pek) return next Wednesday vs. the Nuggets. However as someone going to the game, I REALLY want Nikola Pekovic to play.
The Golden State Warriors will be without center Andrew Bogut. Ankle injuries have plagued him the past couple seasons and he won't be playing in this one, Festus Ezeli will get the start at center in his absence. The W's also lost Brandon Rush to a season-ending ACL injury.
Let's take a look at the rest of the probable starting lineups...
Kirilenko vs. Barnes will be the matchup of the night. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Bobcats was off to a great start to the season up until Wednesday night's matchup, when he met up with AK47. I think we can expect more of the same in this AK-Harrison matchup.
The Wolves did sign Josh Howard to a one-year veteran's minimum deal and he's expected to play 10-12 minutes on Friday night. If Nikola Pekovic and/or Brandon Roy aren't able to play, the Wolves will start that same lineup with Lee at the SG and Stiemsma at C.
This Golden State Warriors team is quite deep (Curry-Jack, Thompson-Jefferson, Barnes-Green, Lee-Landry, Ezeli-Biedrens). They have a lot of offensive weapons and I'm unsure the Wolves will be able to match up with all of them.
If Nikola Pekovic can play the Timberwolves have a real chance, without him...this one could get ugly.
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 7pmCT and a full gameday recap can be found on this site sometime early Saturday morning. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!