Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Sixers | Oct. 23, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (3-2) vs. Sixers (2-4) | Oct. 23, 2013

 

Timberwolves vs. 76ers | 6 PM — Wells Fargo Center

Where to Watch: No TV

Where to Listen: No radio


Cristy Brusoe
Web Editorial Assistant

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Wolves coach Rick Adelman had a short but sufficient question for his team after last Saturday’s loss to Toronto at Target Center centering on a lack of focus in the team’s two preseason games at Target Center:

“Do you think you’re that good?”

Message received.

The Wolves responded with a much better effort on Sunday in Montreal, beating the Celtics 104-89 in front of a sellout NBA Canada Series crowd. A big key to that success was the significant number of minutes the starters played together and their ability to work out some of the kinks on both ends of the floor. Minnesota will try to build on that tonight when they face the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

The Sixers came into this season with a new head coach, Brett Brown, and several new, young pieces as they build toward the future including rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. But so far, Philadelphia has simply struggled to get healthy. Noel will, at the very least, miss a major chunk of the 2013-14 season while rehabbing from ACL surgery, and other pieces of the Sixers team coming back from surgery or battling minor injuries. They are looking to end their three-game losing streak in the preseason against a Minnesota team that may have more minutes allotted for those players who are still competing for a roster spot.

Look for both teams to find out what they have in bench depth during this contest. The Wolves are looking to clarify who can step up and solidify the small forward position, especially while swingman Chase Budinger is out. Minnesota started Derrick Williams on Sunday and has toyed with bringing Corey Brewer off the bench, but Adelman said he expects to test his different lineups at the 3 out this week. That could mean Brewer gets the start tonight. The Sixers are looking to shore-up their injury list and settle their starting line-up.

Last Meeting

The two teams last faced off on Feb. 20, 2013 at Target Center. The Wolves came away with a close margin 94-87 victory.

Center Nikola Pekovic dominated in the paint for the Wolves, finishing with 27 points and an astounding 18 rebounds, while shooting 9-of-16 from the field and blocking 2 shots. Starting in place of the injured Love, Derrick Williams accounted for 17 points and drained two 3-pointers. Ricky Rubio was active on both ends of the courts, stealing the ball away three times, but also turning it over on offense six times.

Evan Turner played well against a team that envied him in the 2010 NBA Draft. Turner led the team with 17 points, making 6-of-16 from the field. Jrue Holiday wasn’t far behind with 16 points and 5 steals. However, the Sixers struggled making only 65 percent of their free throws.

The Wolves didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally better than the Sixers, only completing 40 percent of their baskets, but shot the ball 38.5 percent better from three-point range. The Wolves also outrebounded the Sixers, 62 to 52 in the game.

Thaddeus Young (hamstring) was out a 5th straight game for the Sixers. Love (hand), Budinger (knee) and Roy (knee) were all out for Minnesota.

This Week’s Results

The Sixers met the Cleveland Cavaliers this past Monday, losing the contest 104-93. It was a bleak homecoming for Evan Turner, who was the national player of the year for Ohio State in 2010. Instead, Spencer Hawes led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Turner only made 4-of-13 from the field, but added six free throws. The team as a whole only made 35 percent of their shots and less than 23 percent of them from long range.

On Sunday, the Wolves overtook the Boston Celtics, winning the contest 104-89. All the starters played a quality number of minutes together, as Love led the way with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Kevin Martin wasn’t far behind; adding 21 points and Ricky Rubio shot the ball better, scoring 15 points. The reserves played limited minutes. Derrick Williams was given the start at shooting forward, but only added 5 points. The team shot the ball noticeably better, making 43 percent of their shots from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line. Expect the starters to play less of a role in Wednesday’s game.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Thaddeus Young

Thaddeus Young is one a highly versatile player with the ability to play both the small forward and power forward positions. After the amnesty of Elton Brand last year, Young bulked up and locked up the job for starting power forward. Still though, Young stands two inches shorter than Kevin Love and about 10-20 pounds lighter. A once well-respected sixth man, Young had career numbers last season, starting 76 games, averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Love, coming off an injury-riddled season, has made an impact thus far in the preseason. In Sunday night’s game versus the Celtics, Love led the team with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Young shot the ball well in the paint last season, averaging 53 percent, but struggled shooting it from 3-point range. Love is deadly from long range and has the ability to stretch the defense because of his outside presence. But, both men can stretch the floor exceptionally well for their position.

Injury Report Presented By TSR Injury Law

The Wolves will be without swingman Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Several of Philadelphia’s players are out of action until January/February or later. Those include: Nerlens Noel, who is rehabbing a left knee injury; Jason Richardson, who recently had knee surgery; Arnett Moultrie, who had left ankle surgery Sept 26 and Kwame Brown, who is hampered by a right hamstring injury.

 

Probable Starters

  Timberwolves 76ers
PG Ricky Rubio Michael Carter-Williams
SG Kevin Martin James Anderson
SF Corey Brewer Evan Turner
PF Kevin Love Thaddeus Young
C Nikola Pekovic Spencer Hawes

 


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