Scouting Report: Wolves (10-11) vs. Pistons (7-15) | Dec. 11, 2013
Scouting Report: Wolves (10-11) vs. 76ers (7-15) | Dec. 11, 2013
Timberwolves vs. 76ers | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Coming into the 2013-14 season, many thought the Philadelphia 76ers were going to struggle and ultimately be on top of the race for No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The 76ers came out of the gates hot, starting 3-0. Since then, though, things have cooled down a bit, having lost seven of their last eight games. Even worse, their prized rookie point guard is out with a bacteria infection. Before that setback, Michael Carter-Williams was averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists and a league-high 3.1 steals per game.
For the Wolves, it’s important to take advantage of these Eastern Conference games, especially with how competitive the Western Conference is.
Minnesota will host the 76ers tonight at Target Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM. The Wolves are 10-11 and looking to get back to .500 while trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 8-10. They’re currently 11th in the West, leapfrogging a couple spots in the competitive conference after last night’s win in Detroit. The Sixers are 7-15 overall, 12th in the East and 1-8 this season on the road.
The two teams last played on Feb. 20 last season and the Wolves came away with a 94-87 win at the Target Center thanks to 27 points and 18 rebounds from Nikola Pekovic.
Derrick Williams (now with Kings) added 17 points and eight rebounds in place of the injured Kevin Love. Andrei Kirilenko (now with Nets) finished with 15 points, while Ricky Rubio added 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Evan Turner led Philadelphia with 17 points, while Jrue Holiday (now with Pelicans) added 15. Damien Wilkins (no longer in league) and Dorell Wright (now with Blazers) had 13 and 10 points off the bench, respectively.
There were a lot of “free” shots, as the two teams combined for 76 free throws. The Wolves hit 75 percent of them while Philadelphia hit 65.6 percent.
The Wolves were 2-0 against the 76ers last season.
This Week’s Results
The Wolves came out blazing in Auburn Hills last night, going 12-of-18 from the field right out of the gates before securing a 121-94 win against the Pistons. Kevin Love had an excellent night, finishing with 26 points, 16 boards and seven assists while shooting 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin each had 18 points, Ricky Rubio had 15 and Corey Brewer had 11. The Wolves’ ball movement was excellent, finishing with 31 assists on 41 field goals.
Previous to that, the Wolves last game was on Saturday and they fell to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, 103-82. It’s worth noting, though, the Wolves were Kevin Love, who was attending his grandmother’s funeral.
Dec. 11, 2013
It marked the third straight loss for the 76ers. Last Friday, Philadelphia fell on the road to the Charlotte Bobcats before losing at home the very next night to the Denver Nuggets.
What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Evan Turner
The two players won’t be going head-to-head, but without Carter-Williams in the lineup, Turner will be Philadelphia’s go-to scoring option.
There was a time when many considered Turner a bust after being picked No. 2 in the 2010 draft, but the 25-year-old wing has turned things around. After averaging a career-high 13.6 points last season, Turner has upped that to 20 points this season to go along with 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Even better, he’s shooting a career-high 45.8 percent from the field this season. Turner is finding most of his success on the right and left sides of the baskets from 8-to-16 feet out, hitting about 50 percent of those shots.
He’ll likely see defensive-minded Corey Brewer most of the night, so there’s a real good chance he won’t find the same success. His 3-point shooting isn’t much of an issue, as he’s hitting less than one 3 per contest.
In two games against Minnesota last season, Turner averaged 18 points, 5.5 rebounds and three assists per game.
Love is currently averaging 23.8 points per game to go along with his league-leading 13.8 boards per night.
Love continues to be one of the league’s most dynamic players, having the ability to score and rebound. His shot looked sensational in the first half last night as he racked up 17 points on five field goal attempts early—that first half included 4-of-5 shooting, 3-of-4 from distance and 6-of-6 from the line.
The All-Star played in just one game against Philadelphia last season for 25 minutes and 51 seconds. He finished with six points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Center Ronny Turiaf is out indefinitely with a radial head fracture in his right elbow.
Carter-Williams (knee infection) is expected to make the trip to Minneapolis, but it’s unlikely he’ll see the court. Arnett Moultrie (knee), Nerlens Noel and Jason Richardson are all out indefinitely.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Tony Wroten|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Hollis Thompson|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Evan Turner|
|PF||Kevin Love||Thaddeus Young|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Spencer Hawes|