Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Bucks | Oct. 10, 2013
Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Bucks | Oct. 10, 2013
Timberwolves vs. Bucks | 7 PM — Sanford Pentagon (Sioux Falls)
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North Plus (Channel Guide)
Where to Listen: No radio
The Timberwolves view themselves as a regional team throughout the Midwest, and the preseason affords them an opportunity to get out and play in venues around that region where fans in other markets can see them live.
That is the case tonight, as the Timberwolves travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon—a state-of-the-art facility that is home to the NBA Development League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce. Tonight’s game will be on Fox Sports North Plus.
It will be the first professional basketball game played at the new arena, and the Wolves are proud to be part of the opening night festivities.
“We’ve worked very closely with the Sanford Staff to promote the game,” Wolves President Chris Wright said. “It will be sold out, and it will be an opening like no other opening for that marketplace.”
The Wolves (1-1) will be coming to town after their first preseason victory last night in Toronto. Minnesota beat the Raptors 101-89, pulling away in the fourth quarter thanks to a far more efficient overall shooting night and lock-down defense in the second half. Minnesota held Toronto to 16 points in the third and 14 points in the fourth after allowing 37 points in the second quarter alone.
The Bucks have 11 new players on their roster this preseason after an active offseason full of moves, but the biggest storyline heading into tonight is their injury situation. Milwaukee (0-1) lost Ersan Ilyasova (sprained right ankle) during a 99-87 loss to the Cavs on Tuesday, and he joins a group that already includes Zaza Pachulia (Achilles), Carlos Delfino (foot) and Ekpe Udoh (right knee).
The Wolves won both meetings with Milwaukee last season, the latest being a 107-98 victory at the Bradley Center on April 3. That was a particularly special night for Minnesota because it put coach Rick Adelman on the cusp of 1,000 wins, which he would reach later that week with a victory over the Detroit Pistons. It was also a special night for Ricky Rubio, who hit 5-of-6 shots from 3-point range and finished with 19 points and 12 assists. All five starters finished in double figures, led by Nikola Pekovic’s 27 points and eight rebounds. Derrick Williams had 15 points, and Luke Ridnour—now with the Bucks—had 12.
This Week’s Results
After a tough defeat against CSKA Moscow in their preseason opener on Monday, Minnesota bounced back with a 101-89 victory against the Raptors in Toronto—a city in which the Wolves have struggled to win for the past seven years. The Bucks are coming off that 99-87 loss to Cleveland. Milwaukee had 14 different players score in that game, led by 15 from Stephen Graham and 14 from rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Luke Ridnour spent the past three seasons with the Timberwolves and filled in essentially any role the team needed from him in the back court over an injury-plagued last two seasons. Ridnour averaged 11.5 points per game a year ago, primarily as the starting 2-guard.
What To Watch: Sanders vs. Pekovic
Nikola Pekovic looked sharp all through camp and put together a near double-double last night in Toronto with 12 points and eight rebounds. He could, provided they get enough minutes in this preseason matchup, get a chance to showcase his physicality tonight against one of the top shot-blocking bigs in the league, Larry Sanders. Sanders is coming off a game against the Cavs in which he had six points, five boards and three blocked shots in about 19 minutes. He, along with the injured Ilyasova, are the two holdovers from last year’s Bucks’ starting five. With so many new faces, including a back court now comprised of Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo, look for Milwaukee to continue getting to know one another on the offensive end while relying on Sanders’ rim protection in the paint.
A couple other key things to watch tonight: For Milwaukee, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Nate Wolters—the standout guard from South Dakota State who played just up the road on Interstate-29 in Brookings during his college career. Also for the Wolves, playing in the tail-end of back-to-backs on the road, look for varying minutes from all its players tonight to save legs. The starters, especially Rubio and Love, played around 27 minutes last night against the Raptors. Chris Johnson has yet to see action in this preseason, so watch to see if he gets into the game tonight. All other Wolves players have played so far.
Injury Report Presented By TSR Injury Law
The Wolves will be without Chase Budinger as he continues to recover from knee surgery earlier this preseason. Kevin Martin played just six minutes last night in Toronto due to a sore right Achilles, but he said after the game that it was a precautionary measure. The Bucks are currently battling the injury bug with Ersan Ilyasova (sprained right ankle), Zaza Pachulia (Achilles), Carlos Delfino (foot) and Ekpe Udoh (right knee) all sidelined.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Brandon Knight|
|SG||Kevin Martin||O.J. Mayo|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Caron Butler|
|PF||Kevin Love||John Henson|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Larry Sanders|