Scouting Report: Wolves at Mavericks
Web Editorial Associate
Wolves (4-2) at Mavericks (4-3) — 7:30 P.M., American Airlines Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
Two teams missing significant pieces to their rosters face each other tonight when the Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Texas and play the Dallas Mavericks.
Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
Dallas is reeling after a 101-97 overtime loss against the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday night, a game that was played without starting forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. Offseason acquisition O.J. Mayo carried the scoring load for Dallas, dropping 22 points. Darren Collison added 14, while veteran Vince Carter had 19 off the bench. Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 26 points, and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored an efficient 25 points on 8-12 shooting.
The Wolves were limited to 10 healthy players by the end of Saturday night’s 87-80 loss against Chicago. With Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio out to begin the season and J.J. Barea and Brandon Roy day-to-day, Minnesota took another blow when Chase Budinger—the hero of Friday’s buzzer-beating win over Indiana—suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee during the fourth quarter. Center Nikola Pekovic held down the paint with 18 points, and Andrei Kirilenko continued stuffing his stat sheet with 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Last Time Out: February 10, 2012
Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points during a 104-97 Dallas victory at Target Center on February 10; his hot hand was too much for Minnesota to handle, as the veteran forward scored over 24 points for the fourth straight game and shot 11-19 from the field.
Kevin Love scored 32 points and collected 12 rebounds in the loss. The fourth-year forward also shot 14-for-14 from the free-throw line. Michael Beasley scored 20 points off the bench, and Nikola Pekovic recorded 12 of his own.
Reserve Dallas guard Jason Terry scored 16 points, and Vince Carter logged 12. The Mavericks moved on to 16-11 for the season while the youthful Wolves dropped to 13-14.
Key Matchup: O.J. Mayo and Alexey Shved
O.J. Mayo has been a model of consistency for a Dallas franchise that has suffered early on from injuries to veterans. Mayo has scored at least 12 points in all seven of Dallas’ games so far, and he has topped the 30-point mark twice already. He is one of only three players to start all seven games this year for the Mavericks [Brandan Wright and Darren Collison being the other two], and he will certainly be counted on to lead the scoring efforts with a 21.9 points per game average.
With Budinger’s injury and the day-to-day status of Brandon Roy, Minnesota is awfully thin at shooting guard. Rookie Alexey Shved is likely to pick up extra minutes as a result. The lanky Shved brings height and playmaking ability to the shooting guard role, as shown by his breaking out against Indiana recording seven assists. The situation is far from ideal for coach Rick Adelman, but it means that Shved could be given a golden opportunity to prove his worth early in his NBA career.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Luke Ridnour||Darren Collison|
|SG||Brandon Roy||OJ Mayo|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Jae Crowder|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Elton Brand|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Brandan Wright|