Top 10 Games At Target Center

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Official Press Release: Timberwolves Announce 2010-11 Schedule

10. November 17 Wednesday | L.A. Clippers
Clippers? Why? Every season, the Clippers seem to be a sexy pick to compete for a playoff spot due to their immense talent. This year, Blake Griffin retains his rookie status, 2010 draft pick Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, and Chris Kaman round out an impressive roster…on paper. The twist to this matchup is the return of former Wolves’ Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, and Craig Smith to the Target Center.

9. March 30 Wednesday | Chicago
The Bulls missed on acquiring a top-tier free agent; however, they added some pieces to make a move in the Eastern Conference. The addition of Carlos Boozer will instantly give Chicago a scoring option on the blocks and a nice pick-and-roll partner with Rose. Kyle Korver will add a deadly outside jumper when Rose penetrates through the lane. Meanwhile, the Bulls feature young talent at key positions with Joakim Noah at center and Luol Deng at small forward. Chicago also snatched former Celtics defensive guru Tom Thibodeau as head coach to lead a dangerous squad in the Windy City.

8. January 15 Saturday | Orlando
The Magic remained quiet during the free agent frenzy this summer. After getting bounced by Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, Dwight Howard & company will be prepared for another run at the title. Despite its lack of movement, Orlando still boasts one of the elite rosters in the league and should challenge Miami for the No. 1 position in a loaded division.

7. January 13 Thursday | Washington
If his summer league play was any indication of the type of pro John Wall will be in 2010-11…lookout NBA. Wall was absolutely electrifying in front of the Vegas crowd and displayed his blazing speed on a nightly basis. The former Kentucky phenom might end up passing former Calipari disciples, Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose. Gilbert Arenas also returns to the Wizards lineup along with high-flier Javale Mcgee and newly acquired combo guard Kirk Hinrich.

6. December 8 Wednesday | Oklahoma City
The most surprising squad last year returns with the core nucleus primed for another shot at the postseason. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green are forming their own version of the Big Three while generating some buzz in OKC. Local fans will be delighted to check out Minnesota native Cole Aldrich at the Target Center.

5. December 22 Wednesday | Utah
Big Al makes his Big Return in this Wednesday night matchup. Jefferson was a tremendous low-post threat for the Wolves during his three-year tenure in Minnesota. In Utah, the big man will get a chance to play with All-Star point guard Deron Williams and fill the shoes of the departed Carlos Boozer. Utah figures to be in the Western Conference mix for a top spot in the playoffs this year. On December 22, K-Love vs. Big Al in the paint takes center stage.

4. October 27 Wednesday | Sacramento
Last year on opening night, the Wolves completed a storybook victory behind a last-second put-back jumper from Damien Wilkins. The Target Center was bumping after rookie Jonny Flynn posted 18 points in his debut and new head coach Kurt Rambis notched his first victory. Unfortunately, the rest of the season was not as exhilarating but the opening game is always a special event for the home crowd. Sacramento will waltz into Minneapolis with the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year in Tyreke Evans and the most polarizing player from the 2010 NBA Draft. The No. 5 overall pick, DeMarcus Cousins displayed an impressive offensive game in a summer league contest against Minnesota. Maturity was the big question mark following Cousins throughout the draft process; it will be interesting to see if he relishes the role of villain or tries to prove all the detractors wrong. The Kings are an upcoming young squad, which should create an entertaining opening night in Minneapolis.

3. March 27 Sunday | Boston
The sight of KG in a green uniform seems less painful for Wolves fans with each passing year. However, every time he walks on to the Target Center floor, there is a different aura in the arena. By the way, the Big Ticket will bring along the defending Eastern Conference champs, including Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and the Big Shamrock. Hard to imagine Shaquille O’Neal wearing a Celtics uniform after his dominate run in LA but the 38-year old is attempting to keep pace with his former teammate. Kendrick Perkins should be back in the line-up for Boston, assuming he fully recovers from a devastating knee injury in Game 7 of last year’s Finals. The Celtics also added Jermaine O’Neal to form the first O’Neal-O’Neal frontcourt in NBA history (not sure if that is true but sounds good). Can talent overcome age? Once again, this will be the theme surrounding Boston in 2010-11.

2. Nov. 19 Friday | L.A. Lakers
Can you picture Kobe Bryant in a gym all alone with posters of Lebron, Wade, and Bosh in Miami jerseys posing as if they just won the title? You have to imagine that the Black Mamba just received additional motivation to rip through the league en route to another three-peat. While Bron searches for his first ring, Bryant is chasing history and No. 23. The Wolves welcome Los Angeles to the Target Center for one of two games this year on a Friday night. Quietly, general manager Mitch Kupchak reloaded the reigning champs’ roster by acquiring point guard Steve Blake, instigator Matt Barnes, and veteran defensive specialist Theo Ratliff. A Friday night in downtown Minneapolis to see the Lake Show in its quest for a third straight title in possibly Phil Jackson’s last year? No brainer.

1. April 1 Friday | Miami
LeBron, Wade, and Bosh...nuff said. This cast of All-Stars will either hold up shields to block the storm of criticism for not living up to the hype or they will be chasing the Bulls 72-win mark by April 1(if you listen to Jeff Van Gundy). Regardless of your opinion on the “The Three Kings”, there is a tremendous amount of intrigue following the Heat in 2010-11. South Beach is the spot for the No. 1 storyline in the NBA and Minnesota fans will have one opportunity to catch a glimpse of these superstars as the hometown team hopes to play spoiler. On a side note, former Heat forward Michael Beasley gets his second crack at the team that originally drafted him in 2008.

Atlanta - Friday Nov. 5 (Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Mike Bibby)
Philadelphia – Saturday Feb. 12 (Evan Turner, Elton Brand)
New Jersey – Saturday Jan. 1 (Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Brook Lopez)
Denver – Saturday Feb. 5 (Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Nene, Al Harrington)
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