Scouting Report: Wolves (0-0) vs. Magic (0-1) | Oct. 30, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (0-0) vs. Magic (0-1) | Oct. 30, 2013

 

Timberwolves vs. Magic | 7 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM


Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

Email / Twitter

After showing excitement throughout the draft, summer workouts, training camp, preseason games and countless practices, here we are. It is the start of the 25th season for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It’s an exciting time at the Target Center. The team has a healthy Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love and has acquired pieces such as Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf. When you put the puzzle together, it has a lot of Minnesota fans whispering “playoffs.”

But like Marcus Aurelius said in the movie “Gladiator,” “You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.”

After injuries derailed the team last season, Minnesota is crossing its fingers, hoping the team will be able to stay healthy and make a run at the Western Conference playoffs.

It starts tonight against the Orlando Magic. The Magic earned the No. 2 pick after trading Dwight Howard before the 2012-13 season. With that pick, they selected highly-touted Indiana guard Victor Oladipo. The Wolves—like many teams—seemed to be fans of Oladipo’s game, but his stock rose too high during the Draft workouts. Orlando has many nice pieces, but it looks a year or two away from making a leap in the Eastern Conference.

It will be interesting to see how Ricky Rubio matches up with Oladipo, a player who played shooting guard in college before Orlando attempted to turn him into a point guard. In preseason, Oladipo went through a bit of a roller coaster with the position. Expect to see that a bit throughout the season. Playing point guard in the NBA is no easy task. He will see time at the shooting guard position as well.

Another talking point will be who head coach Rick Adelman starts at the small forward position. Throughout preseason, he’s gone back and forth with Corey Brewer and Derrick Williams. Wednesday’s game won’t decide who will play there all season, but it will give Minnesota fans a look at what Adelman’s ideal rotation looks like.

Wolves Minute: Oct. 30, 2013

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 Last Meeting





The last matchup between the two squads was all the way back on Dec. 20, 2012. The Wolves fell 102-93 in Orlando due in part because of their inability to stop Big Baby Glen Davis.

Davis finished with 28 points while shooting 13-of-17 from the field. The Wolves won’t have to worry about the power forward on Wednesday night, as he’s recovering from offseason foot surgery. Shooting guard J.J. Redick (now with Clippers) finished with 18 points off the bench. Center Nikola Vucevic finished with a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting guard Aaron Afflalo scored 13.

Kevin Love led Minnesota with 23 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Love’s bash brother Nikola Pekovic also had a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko (now with Nets) scored 13 points and had six assists. Luke Ridnour (now with Bucks) finished with 11 and both J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham scored 10 off the bench.

The Wolves couldn’t find their groove from the field, as they shot just 40.6 percent from the field compared to Orlando’s mark of 53.7 percent.

Oddly, the team’s only combined for 20 free-throw attempts.

This was the second matchup between the two teams during the 2012-13 season. Minnesota won the first game 90-75 at the Target Center.

This Week’s Results





The Wolves last played on Oct. 24 against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit came away with a 99-98 thanks to a Josh Smith game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.

J.J. Barea made a layup just seconds before Smith’s shot to give the Wolves a short-lived lead. Barea finished with 16 points off the bench.

Love led the Wolves with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Kevin Martin scored 18 points, while Ricky Rubio scored 15 while shooting 6-of-12 from the field.

The Wolves weren’t able to contain Andre Drummond, who hauled in 20 rebounds and helped the Pistons outrebound Minnesota 45-42.

The Magic opened their season up last night and fell to Indiana on the road, 97-87.

Andrew Nicholson led Orlando with 18 points off the bench. Moe Harkless added 14, and Jameer Nelson and Oladipo both added 12. Orlando shot just 38.7 percent from the field.

What To Watch: Nikola Pekovic vs. Nikola Vucevic

NIKOLA VS. NIKOLA!

These two big men have more in common than just their name. Pekovic and Vucevic are the only players in the league from Montenegro. Despite the age difference (Pekovic is 27, while Vucevic is 23), the two are also good friends.

Last season, Pekovic averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season while earning himself a contract extension. Vucevic, in just his second season, was fairly impressive as well, scoring 13.1 points per game while hauling in 11.9 rebounds per game. The former USC center was acquired in the Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Andre Iguodala trade.

In two games against Orlando last season, Pekovic averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds, while Vucevic averaged eight points and 7.5 rebounds.

Injury Report





 The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Davis will be out with a foot injury. Tobias Harris (ankle) did not make the trip with his team to Indiana, so it’s unlikely he’ll do so against Minnesota. Doron Lamb (ankle) did not dress against Indiana and is questionable against Minnesota.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Magic
PG Ricky Rubio Jameer Nelson
SG Kevin Martin Arron Afflalo
SF Corey Brewer Moe Harkless
PF Kevin Love Andrew Nicholson
C Nikola Pekovic Nikola Vucevic

 


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.