Pregame 4:00 PM:
Welcome to Target Center for tonight’s game, where the Wolves will begin a six-game home stand over the next 10 days beginning with the Los Angeles Clippers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
The big news of the day revolves around coach Rick Adelman, who is coaching his first game since Jan. 5 against Portland. Just a huge boost in confidence having him around, and you can tell the mode has shifted with everyone around the organization knowing the man who is nearing 1,000 career wins is back in the gym.
Not only that, but the Wolves will have center Nikola Pekovic and guard Alexey Shved back from injury. Pek is a big boost on his own, not only providing a little muscle in the paint to help deal with the athletic and powerful duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but also creating some problems for a defense that must account for him on the offensive end. Teams often need to double Pek, opening up some breathing room on the outside for shots or penetration. And Pek is a nice asset to have in the pick-and-roll game.
As for Shved, he’ll return after missing five games on the same day he was selected to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge in Houston. That’s a really nice honor for Shved, who has quickly shown he is adjusted to the NBA game and put together a nice stretch of play in December. Should be fun to watch him compete at the game, which will take place Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 PM CT on TNT.
More news and notes to follow throughout the night. Stay tuned.
Here are some pregame notes as we await tipoff for tonight’s game:
The Wolves lead in the all-time series 48-44 and are 29-17 at home. The Clippers have won the last three games in the series, including two this season: 101-95 at Los Angeles on Nov. 28 and 90-77 at Minnesota on Jan. 17.
The Wolves enter tonight in the 12th position in the Western Conference, five games behind Houston for the final playoff spot. Minnesota is 11-7 at Target Center this season and starts a six-game home stand tonight.
The Wolves rank 5th in the NBA in free throw attempts per game (25.5) and have allowed the 2nd fewest free throw attempts (19.7). Minnesota has attempted 30+ FTs in a game 15 times this season and allowed less than 20 FTs in a game 18 times.
Andrei Kirilenko is shooting 64.3% (45-for-70) in his last six games at Target Center. He ranks 27th in the NBA in FG% (51.5), 21st in steals (1.54 spg) and 28th in blocks (1.19 bpg).
Luke Ridnour is averaging 16.3 points, on 50.0% shooting, over the last six games. He has scored in double-digits in 12 of the last 13 games. Ridnour is the only Timberwolves player to see action in all 41 games (all starts) this season.
J.J. Barea has scored in double figures in 22 of his last 25 games. In his last four games, he is averaging 14.3 points, on 45.3% (24-for-35) shooting, 3.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Barea is a team-leading +20 when on the floor this season.
Ricky Rubio has started the last six games, averaging 6.3 points, 6.3 assists and 2.0 steals in 27.7 minutes per game, including season highs of 14 points and 5 steals Saturday at Charlotte.
The Clippers snapped a season-high-tying four-game losing streak on Sunday with a win vs. Portland. Prior to that, they had won seven of eight games. The Clippers are 13-8 on the road this season, 9-6 vs. Western Conference teams.
The Clippers rank 1st in the NBA in steals with 10.13 per game. They also rank 3rd in assists with 23.65 per game and 4th in FG percentage at 47.3%.
Blake Griffin is averaging 23.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the last five games. His is the first player since LeBron James in 2005 to average 23+ points, 9+ rebounds, 6+ assists and 2+ steals while playing in five games in a week.
Chris Paul ranks 1st in steals (2.56)2nd in assists (9.7), 5th in FT% (.897). Paul has missed the last four games with a bruised right kneecap.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves
and Mark Remme
on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com