Scouting Report: Wolves (29-29) at Nuggets (25-33) | March 3, 2014
Timberwolves at Nuggets | 8:00 PM — Pepsi Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North Plus
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Heading into the All-Star Break, it looked like these two teams would be fighting with the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the West.
After the break, though, the two teams went in opposite directions. The Wolves (29-29) are hoping to get over .500 tonight, while also closing the gap between them and the Phoenix Suns for the eighth seed. Minnesota sits 5.5 games back from Phoenix.
The Nuggets chances of making the playoffs have dwindled away as they sit 9.5 games back. That has a lot to do with a slew of injuries to Brian Shaw’s squad. Still, though, Denver has won two of three games against the Wolves this season.
This will end Minnesota’s five-game road trip.
The Wolves are 1-2 against the Nuggets this season with the last game coming on Feb. 12 at the Target Center. Minnesota won 117-90, behind 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists from Kevin Love. Corey Brewer had 18 points against his former team, shooting 9-of-14 from the field. J.J. Barea led the second unit with 18 points, making all eight of his shot attempts. Chase Budinger had 12 points, while Ricky Rubio had a nice all-around game, scoring 11 points, dishing out 12 assists and finishing with a game-high seven steals.
The Nuggets did not have a single player score more than 16 points. Jordan Hamilton (now with Rockets) led the second unit with 16 points. J.J. Hickson scored 14 points while hauling in 13 rebounds. Evan Fournier had 13 points and Wilson Chandler scored 12. Randy Foye, who shifted to the point guard position to start for Ty Lawson, had 10 points.
Denver shot just 39.3 percent from the field compared to Minnesota’s mark of 52.3 percent.
This Week’s Results
March 3, 2014
In his first game back since injuring his thumb before the All-Star Break, Kevin Martin had a game-high 26 points. Love finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, despite shooting just 4-of-12 from the field. Nikola Pekovic also returned from an ankle injury and finished with 20 points and nine boards. Brewer added 13 points. The Wolves shot 45.7 percent from the field.
Minnesota is 4-1 in its last five games.
The Nuggets last played on Saturday and fell on the road to the Portland Trail Blazers, 102-96.
Foye, Kenneth Faried and Evan Fournier all scored 16 points. Faried also hauled in 10 rebounds. Wilson Chandler scored 14 points. Darrell Arthur and Hickson had 12 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench. The Nuggets shot just 23-of-35 from the free-throw line.
Denver has lost its last five games.
What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Kenneth Faried
With all of the moves and injuries that have impacted the Nuggets, Faried might be the only recognizable name on this Denver roster.
Faried has regressed a bit this season, averaging 11 points per game and a career-low 7.5 rebounds per contest. He’s shooting 53.9 percent from the field, also a career-low.
The player they call “Manimal” is still a physical specimen that can power his way to the basket.
In three games against Minnesota this season, Faried is averaging 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Unlike Faried, Love is having one of the best seasons of his career. The All-Star starter is averaging a career-high 26.5 points per game and 4.1 assists. He’s also hauling in 13.1 rebounds per game, ranking second in the NBA>
In three games against Denver, Love is averaging 26.3 points, 12 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Minnesota center Ronny Turiaf (knee) is out indefinitely.
Denver will be without Nate Robinson (knee), Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (tibia) for the remainder of the season. Point guard Ty Lawson (rib) is out indefinitely.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Aaron Brooks|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Randy Foye|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Wilson Chandler|
|PF||Kevin Love||Kenneth Faried|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Timofey Mozgov|