Scouting Report: Wolves (6-3) vs. Nuggets (3-4) | Nov. 15, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (6-3) at Nuggets (3-4) | Nov. 15, 2013


Timberwolves at Nuggets | 7:00 PM — Pepsi Center

Where to Watch: ESPN

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

If there were an “Offseason Makeover Award,” the Denver Nuggets would certainly get a nomination.

After winning 57 games last season and advancing to the playoffs, the Nuggets lost their general manager to the Toronto Raptors, replaced head coach George Karl and cut ties with several players. One of those players is Corey Brewer, who is now a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 3-4 Nuggets are now coached by former Lakers assistant Brian Shaw and are building their team around point guard Ty Lawson.

It’s easy to scratch your head on why a team would dump Coach of the Year George Karl, but maybe just making the playoffs wasn’t good enough for the Nuggets. With that being said, the Nuggets were 38-3 at home last season. They have already lost two at home this season and for the first time since 2002-03, the Nuggets could find themselves out of the Western Conference playoffs.

Of those three losses at home last season, the Timberwolves came away with one of them on Jan. 3, thanks to 12 points and 17 rebounds from Kevin Love.

Without Brewer, Andre Iguodala and injured center JaVale McGee (injured), these Nuggets are a little different than we’ve seen in the past.

Last Meeting

The two teams last faced off on March 9 of last season and the Nuggets came away with a 111-88 win at the Pepsi Center.

The Wolves were without “Bash Brothers” Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. Mickael Gelabale (no longer in NBA) led the team with 19 points while shooting 8-of-10 from the field. J.J. Barea led the bench with 15 points. Derrick Williams finished with 13 points, but shot just 4-of-14 from the field. Ricky Rubio finished with 11 points and six assists.

The Nuggets were led by Lawson, who had 32 points while shooting 12-of -17 from the field. Brewer led the bench with 15 points to go along with two steals. Both Iguodala (now with Warriors) and Danilo Gallinari scored 11 points.

The Wolves allowed the Nuggets to shoot 53.8 percent from the field.

The two teams split the 4-game series last season.

This Week’s Results

Minnesota is 2-1 in its last three games, including Wednesday night’s impressive 124-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Target Center. The Wolves lost to the Cavs back on Nov. 4 on the road, so it was a bit of a revenge game.

The Wolves were without sharp-shooter Kevin Martin, who was out because of flu-like symptoms.

While the Wolves will need Martin’s services if they want to compete in the West, he wasn’t missed much on Wednesday night as Brewer slid to the shooting guard position and scored 27 points while shooting 5-of-5 from the 3-point line. In his first start of his NBA career, rookie Robbie Hummel played pretty well, scoring 10 points while shooting 4-of-6 from the field. His start may have surprised some, but head coach Rick Adelman has been hinting for a few weeks that Hummel could see some time in the rotation.

Kevin Love had a game-high 33 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Rubio scored a season-high 16 points to go along with 16 assists. Every one of Rubio’s assists came from either outside the 3-point line or inside the restricted area.

Wolves Minute: Nov. 15, 2013

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Pekovic scored 10 points while grabbing six rebounds. The Wolves shot 54.9 percent (25-82) from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line (11-22).

Previous to the home game, Minnesota split two games at the Staples Center. On Sunday, the Wolves ended a 22-game losing streak to the Los Angeles Lakers by defeating them 113-90 behind a triple-double from Rubio.

Things didn’t go as well the next night as the Wolves lost a nail-biter to the Clippers, 109-107. The Wolves had three shots within the final 11 seconds, including a put-back opportunity by Love, but they were unable to send the game to overtime. Martin led all scorers with 30 points while shooting 4-of-8 from the 3-point line.

The Nuggets are coming off of a home 111-99 win over the Lakers on Wednesday. Backup center Timofey Mozgov had a career-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds. Kenneth “Manimal” Faried finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 8-of-13 from the field. Lawson scored 19 points, while Wilson Chandler finished with 12 in his first action of the season. The Nuggets outrebounded the Lakers 58-51.

Previous to that, the Nuggets came away with a 100-81 win over the Jazz after losing 114-103 to the Suns.

What To Watch: Corey Brewer vs. Wilson Chandler

The two were teammates the last two seasons for the Nuggets. The Nuggets took second place in the Northwest Division in both years seasons.

Chandler played in just 43 games last season, starting eight, but was third on the team, averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Brewer had pretty similar numbers, scoring 12.1 points per game with 2.9 rebounds.

Chandler, who was out with hamstring injury for the first six games of the season, played his first game in Wednesday’s win over the Lakers. He had a pretty solid night, finishing with 12 points, all coming off 3-pointers, in 21 minutes and 10 seconds of play.

Brewer is coming off of a great night against Cleveland. Through nine games, he is averaging 14.9 points per game to go along with 1.9 steals. Both would be career highs if he continued them throughout the season.

Oh, yeah. And he’s pretty good at this.

There hasn’t been word yet on whether or not Chandler will start at small forward in his second game back. For what it’s worth, Chandler played about nine minutes more than starting small forward Jordan Hamilton on Wednesday night.

Last season, Chandler was able to play in just one game against the Wolves and scored seven points while hauling in five rebounds.

Injury Report

 The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Center Ronny Turiaf is out with a radial head fracture. McGee (tibia) is out indefinitely. Gallinari (ACL) is also out indefinitely.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Nuggets
PG Ricky Rubio Ty Lawson
SG Kevin Martin Randy Foye
SF Corey Brewer Jordan Hamilton
PF Kevin Love Kenneth Faried
C Nikola Pekovic J.J. Hickson


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