Pregame: Questions To Be Answered Tonight
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A near sellout crowd will be at Target Center tonight for the Timberwolves season opener against Oklahoma City, and those in the crowd are likely interested seeing the same thing as Wolves coach Rick Adelman.
How will his young team handle a proven winner like the Thunder?
"I think once the game sets in we'll be fine, but we're playing a really good team," Adelman said. "It seems like everyone is favoring them in the West. It's a big challenge for us, and I'm interested just like everyone else to see how we respond."
But in Oklahoma City's locker room, coach Scott Brooks is pondering a similar question. With the new-look Wolves sporting a roster full of talented shooters—particularly from the 3-point line—how will his squad react to the challenge?
It is, after all, a revamped Timberwolves roster with hyped additions like rookie Ricky Rubio. Rubio, who is slated to come off the bench in tonight's contest, is someone who Brooks has heard of for years but is getting his first chance to see him in person at Target Center.
"I've heard about him for six years, and I saw him for the first time 30 minutes ago. He is real—he's like a folk hero," Brooks joked. "But it's exciting. It looks like he's got a good way about him, and when you have a passing mentality, you have a lot of friends on your team."
Passing will be critical offensively for Minnesota. Finding open lanes to create open shots will be crucial in keeping pace with a Thunder offense which sports the two-time defending league scoring champion in Kevin Durant.
Brooks said Oklahoma City is keeping an eye on Kevin Love both close and far away from the basket.
"Minnesota, last year they were a great 3-point shooting team," Brooks said. "Those are always concerns when you play them. They're good shooters on the floor."
Adelman said having good possessions is pivotal tonight. Turnovers against a team like the Thunder lead to quick transition points.
"We really need to take care of the ball," Adelman said.
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