Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Kings
Web Editorial Associate
Wolves (0-0) vs. Kings (0-1) — 7 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: WFTC-29
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
The 2012-2013 NBA regular season officially tips off for Minnesota tonight, as the Target Center home crowd will get to see Timberwolves new and old take the floor against an athletic bunch in the Sacramento Kings.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game can be seen on WFTC-29 along with radio coverage at 830 WCCO-AM. Make sure to follow the Timberwolves’ Facebook and Twitter accounts for further in-game updates.
Sacramento comes to town after a road loss against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Joakim Noah scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to start his season with a double-double; the Kings had four players with double-digit scoring efforts as Tyreke Evans , Marcus Thornton , DeMarcus Cousins  and Isaiah Thomas  all contributed. After losing a 22-20 lead late in the first quarter, the Kings weren’t able to recover and dropped their first game of the year.
The Timberwolves enter the regular season after a successful preseason campaign; coach Rick Adelman’s squad went 5-2, including four wins that were by 10 points or more. Minnesota also had an impressive defensive effort throughout preseason, holding opponents to the lowest shooting percentage in the entire league. Chase Budinger led the team in scoring with 93 total points throughout the seven-game stretch, while Nikola Pekovic led the rebounding efforts with 50.
Last Time Out: April 2, 2012
In the midst of a late season slump, the Timberwolves fell to the Kings on April 2 by a 116-108 margin. Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans, playing off the ball after Isaiah Thomas’ insertion at point guard, had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The Timberwolves pulled within 109-104 in the fourth quarter, but an 11-0 run pushed the Kings ahead for good. Kevin Love scored 23 points for Minnesota, who dropped to 4-10 after Ricky Rubio’s season-ending knee injury. Luke Ridnour added 13, and Brad Miller scored 11 in his first start of the season, returning to a city where he played for six seasons. The Timberwolves shot 11-for-21 from the perimeter, but could not overcome a Sacramento scoring attack that shot 50.6 percent from the field.
Key Matchup: Nikola Pekovic and DeMarcus Cousins
Is Pekovic on the verge of a huge season? He showed incredible improvement last year, asserting himself as one of the most powerful big men in the league. Cousins had a great season in 2011-2012 as well, improving in points, blocks, and rebounds per game along with his overall shooting percentage. Cousins has a big body, but can he truly match up against the bruising Pekovic? Pekovic will also have to contend with Cousin’s developing mid-range jumper and overall athleticism. This could be a game that is decided in the trenches of the low post.
The Wolves will open up the regular season without Kevin Love, who suffered a broken right hand two weeks ago and continues to recover. Guard Luke Ridnour has missed time this preseason with a back injury but has been participating in practice and has continued to improve his conditioning. He’ll likely play and start tonight.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Luke Ridnour||Isaiah Thomas|
|SG||Brandon Roy||Tyreke Evans|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||James Johnson|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Jason Thompson|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||DeMarcus Cousins|