Scouting Report: Wolves (8-8) vs. Nuggets (7-6) | Nov. 27, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (8-8) vs. Nuggets (7-6) | Nov. 27, 2013


Timberwolves vs. Nuggets| 7:00 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North Plus

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

If you take a look at the Eastern Conference, there are five teams with a lower win percentage than .500 in the top eight.

In the West, there are 11 teams that are .500 or better. In fact, there are only FOUR teams in the West with losing records.

In other words, the West is full of talented teams, capable of winning 40 plus games in the regular season. That is no disrespect to the East, the conference that has produced the NBA Champion for the last two seasons, but the West is just a different animal.

The Nuggets and Timberwolves are two of those teams hoping to be in the playoff hunt by the end of the season. With Denver beating Minnesota earlier this season, it makes it that much more important for the Wolves to beat the Nuggets at the Target Center on the night before Thanksgiving.

The Nuggets (7-6) currently sit in eighth place in the West, while the Wolves (8-8) are in ninth.

Wolves Minute

Nov. 27, 2013

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Last Meeting

The two teams actually already matched up this season back on Nov. 15 at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won their fourth game of the season thanks to 66 bench points. In his second game of the season, forward Wilson Chandler led that group with 19 points while shooting 6-of-9 from the field. Kenneth Faried added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Ty Lawson also notched a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 10 assists. The ageless wonder, Andre Miller, scored 13 points off the bench, while J.J. Hickson scored 12 points and hauled in 11 rebounds.

The Nuggets had an 11-man rotation compared to Minnesota’s rotation of eight. Kevin Love led the way with 28 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. Kevin Martin scored 27, while J.J. Barea led the bench with 21 points. Nikola Pekovic finished with 14 points, Dante Cunningham had 12 and Corey Brewer had 11 against his former team. While he did have 12 assists, three steals and eight rebounds, Ricky Rubio struggled from the field, going 0-for-5 and finishing with no points. It was the second game of the season that Rubio hasn’t made a field goal.

This Week’s Results

The Wolves are coming off of a 98-84 loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Eastern Conference’s best team. Love led Minnesota with 20 points and 17 rebounds. It was Love’s seventh 20 point/15 rebound game of the season. The rest of the NBA has 23 games combined. No other player has more than two.

Fellow big man Pekovic also had a double-double, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Martin was the only other Minnesota player to hit double-digits, scoring 18 points, but shot just 4-of-14 from the field to get there. The Wolves struggled from the 3-point line, shooting just 3-of-19 compared to Indiana’s mark of 8-of-15.

Before the Wolves traveled to Indiana, they had a home-away back-to-back against the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets, respectively. On Friday, the Wolves took down Kevin Garnett and the Nets, 111-81. The results the next night weren’t as great for Minnesota, though. On their fifth back-to-back of the season, the Wolves lost 112-101 to Dwight Howard and the Rockets.

The Nuggets took down the Dallas Mavericks, 110-96, handing the Mavs their first home loss of the season on Monday night. The Nuggets had a pretty balanced attack. Hickson led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds, while shooting 8-of-11 from the field. New guard Nate Robinson had a bench-high 17 points, while Lawson added 19 points and 11 assists. Faried also notched a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Chandler and Jordan Hamilton each scored 11 points.

The Nuggets actually battled the Mavericks again on Saturday and beat them at home, 102-100. Last Thursday, the Nuggets added another home win to the resume while beating the Chicago Bulls, 97-87.

What To Watch: Ricky Rubio vs. Ty Lawson

It is true that Lawson outperformed Rubio when the two teams last faced off. There is a difference between these two players and what they mean for their franchise, though.

Lawson is the man of Denver’s offense, being depended on to score and to facilitate. Rubio, on the other hand, creates offense better than almost anybody in the league and can do so without scoring.

The former Tar Heel has been a pleasant surprise for the Nuggets after being drafted in 2009. He had his best season in 2012-13, when he averaged 16.7 points per game to go along with 6.9 assists per game—both were career highs. Former teammate Corey Brewer, who is now with the Wolves, said that Lawson is one of the fastest players in the league. Brewer also called him a “bad dude.”

Side-note: He didn’t mean he was an actual bad person. It’s like saying, “That’s sick.” Nobody is throwing up. It’s a compliment. Just to get everyone on the same page.

Lawson is averaging 20.7 points per game to go along with 8.7 assists (5th in NBA) and 1.2 steals this season. Rubio is averaging 8.1 points, 8.6 assists (6th in NBA), 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game (1st in NBA).

Injury Report

The Wolves will have Chase Budinger (knee) in the building, but he will not be suiting up. Budinger said that right now, he’s taking things “week-to-week” regarding his progress from knee surgery. Center Ronny Turiaf (elbow) is out indefinitely.

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (knee) is reportedly still weeks away from making a return.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Nuggets
PG Ricky Rubio Ty Lawson
SG Kevin Martin Randy Foye
SF Corey Brewer Wilson Chandler
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.