Scouting Report: Wolves (14-15) at Bucks (6-23) | Dec. 28, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (14-15) at Bucks (6-23) | Dec. 28, 2013


Timberwolves at Bucks | 7:30 PM — BMO Harris Bradley Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

MILWAUKEE - If the season ended right now, neither the Milwaukee Bucks or the Minnesota Timberwolves would be a top-8 seed in their respected conferences. With that being said, there are still quite a few interesting story-lines for this one.

First off, I will be at the game and will be updating my "Ratke on the Road" blog throughout the weekend. Make sure to check it out here. Now that the shameless plug is over, let's get into this matchup.

After acquiring players like O.J. Mayo, Luke Ridnour and Caron Butler, many folks in Milwaukee thought that this team could compete for a playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Well, to put it lightly, that hasn't been the case. With early season injuries to key players such as Larry Sanders, this team currently sits at 6-23, which makes them the last-placed team in a weak Eastern Conference.

Both teams will be coming off of a game on Friday night. The Bucks battled the Nets, while the Wolves faced off against Washington. We'll break down those games in a bit, but the "second game of a back-to-back" won't be an excuse for either squad.

For fans of Minnesota basketball, there are two names on Milwaukee's roster that should interest fans. Of course there is Ridnour, who played with Minnesota from 2010-13 and was one of the most loved players on the team. Although he's an undersized guard (175 pounds) Ridnour still manages to be a productive NBA player. He'll be coming off the bench for Milwaukee tonight.

Central Minnesota fans may light up when they hear the name Nate Wolters. Wolters, a rookie point guard out of South Dakota State, was a second-round pick and hails from St. Cloud, MN. Wolters has made the most of his opportunity so far this season, averaging 6.7 points and 3.6 assists per game. Since the return of Brandon Knight, he's seen his minutes go down, but it looks like the Bucks have a productive player for the future.

Another player to keep an eye out for is rookie wing Giannis Antetokounmpo, or as he might be better known as "The Greek Freak." Antetokounmpo has a rare size-skill combination and although the rookie is still learning, it's evident that he has a bright career ahead of him.

Notice that tonight's game starts at 7:30 p.m. CST, which is a half-an-hour later than most games in the Central Time Zone.

Last Meeting

The two last faced off on April 2 last season in Milwaukee and Minnesota came away with a 107-98 win behind 27 points from Nikola Pekovic. Pek was efficient, going 11-of-14 from the field. Ricky Rubio had a nice night, finishing with 19 points, 12 assists and eight steals. Derrick Williams (now with Kings) finished with 15, while Ridnour had 13. Minnesota was on fire from the field, finishing the night 44-of-84.

Ersan Ilyasova led Milwaukee with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Monta Ellis (now with Mavericks) had 18, but shot 7-of-20. Mike Dunleavy (now with Bulls) led the second unit with 15 points. Brandon Jennings (now with Pistons) and Larry Sanders had 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Bucks got to the free-throw line just nine times.

This Week’s Results

The Wolves are coming off of an impressive 120-98 home win over the Washington Wizards. All five starters for Minnesota hit double-digits, while the bench came to play as well.

Kevin Love led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Pekovic added a double-double as well, scoring 18 points while hauling in 10 rebounds. Kevin Martin shot just 5-of-12, but finished with 12 points. Rubio snapped out of his recent offensive funk, nearly finishing with a double-double, ending the night with 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. He also added three steals. To round out the starters, Corey Brewer had 10 points.

The bench for Minnesota came to play. J.J. Barea led the second unit with 17 points and Alexey Shved added 13 while going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.

Before that, Minnesota lost a 120-116 overtime thriller on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Love was amazing in this one, finishing with 45 points, 19 rebounds and six assists. Fellow big man Pekovic was also impressive, scoring 34 points while hauling in 14 rebounds. Martin added 16 points while Barea led the second unit with 12. Rubio had 12 assists, but failed to score a single point. Minnesota shot 46.9 percent from the field, but was just 6-of-22 from the 3-point line.

The Bucks fell on the road to the Brooklyn Nets, 104-93. Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Khris Middelton added 15, but was 3-of-11 from the field. O.J. Mayo and Sanders led the second unit, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.

In Milwaukee’s five games before that, the Bucks were 1-4.

What To Watch: Corey Brewer vs. Caron Butler

Both players are veterans for their respective teams. While Butler is nearing the end of the road when it comes to his career, he's still been effective for the Bucks this season, averaging 12.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He's coming off of a rough game, though, going 0-for-7 in 17 minutes last night.

Brewer, 27, is six years younger than Butler and will again be depended on his defensive skills tonight. On the season, Brewer is averaging 12 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Injury Report

The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. The good news is that Budinger has been cleared to practice for Minnesota. Center Ronny Turiaf is out indefinitely with a radial head fracture in his right elbow.

Fellow center Zaza Pachulia (ankle) is out indefinitely. Forward Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) is questionable.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Bucks
PG Ricky Rubio Brandon Knight
SG Kevin Martin Giannis Antetokounmpo
SF Corey Brewer Ersan Ilyasova
PF Kevin Love John Henson
C Nikola Pekovic Khris Middleton


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