Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Warriors
Web Editorial Associate
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Timberwolves (5-3) vs. Warriors (4-4) – 7 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
The Minnesota Timberwolves get back to playing Western Conference foes tonight when they host the Golden State Warriors at Target Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
The Warriors brought themselves back to a .500 record when they defeated the Hawks 92-88 on Wednesday night. Golden State’s home crowd saw Harrison Barnes record the first double-double of his young career [19 points, 13 rebounds], and forward David Lee joined the rookie with 18 points and 10boards. Leading by 11 points going into the final quarter, the Warriors needed free throws from Barnes and Jarrett Jack to ice the victory. Their game against Minnesota is the first of a three-game road trip.
There has certainly been no shortage of theatrics for this year’s Timberwolves team. The latest dramatic finish was Wednesday night against Charlotte, when a Kemba Walker jumper at the last second thwarted Minnesota’s comeback, 89-87. The Wolves—down by 16 at one point—climbed all the way back to tie the game in the final minute, thanks partially to big nights from Andrei Kirilenko [26 points, 12 rebounds, 44 minutes played] and Luke Ridnour [16 points, 10 rebounds]. In the end it was not enough, as the Bobcats won out and handed Minnesota their first home loss this season.
Last time out: April 22, 2012
Golden State guard Charles Jenkins played all 48 minutes and led his team in scoring with 24 points as the Warriors beat the Kevin Love-less Timberwolves at Target Center.
As if Ricky Rubio’s season-ending knee injury wasn’t damaging enough, Minnesota announced prior to the contest that forward Kevin Love would be deactivated for the final two games of the year with a concussion. Nikola Pekovic carried much of the load, collecting 19 points and 16 rebounds. Martell Webster added another 18 points for the home team.
The Warriors earned their first lead of the night after a 12-2 run midway through the fourth quarter, mostly due to key buckets from Jenkins. A 3-pointer from Brandon Rush and a three-point play from Dominic McGuire sealed things up for Golden State, who moved on to 26-41 with the win.
Key matchup: Dante Cunningham and Carl Landry
Stephen Curry is shooting career-lows in 37 percent from the field and 33 percent from outside, and Klay Thompson is seemingly regressing from a strong rookie year with similar dips in efficiency. Landry, who has not yet started a game, is the third-leading scorer for Golden State posting 15.4 points per game on 59 percent shooting—his best rate in five seasons. With big man Andrew Bogut sidelined due to an ankle injury, Landry is also bearing much of the rebounding load; he ranks second on his team with 7.8 boards per game. He’s simply a high-impact bench player for a team whose starters are struggling to get going this year.
Another important reserve forward playing Friday is Minnesota’s Dante Cunningham. On a squad that only suited up nine players in its loss against Charlotte, Cunningham has posted career-highs in points [9.1], rebounds [6.1] and minutes per game [24.3]. He and Landry are players of similar value in being crucial bench contributors for rosters that are both limited by injuries, especially in the low post.
The Timberwolves hope to have some of their injured teammates back tonight, but coach Rick Adelman said on Thursday that Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Brandon Roy ( knee) and JJ Barea (foot) would all be decisions made today. All three are listed as questionable tonight. If any of the three do not play, they will get an additional four days off after tonight’s game to recover with Minnesota not playing again until Wednesday against Denver. The Wolves could have a little extra wing help tonight, as Adelman confirmed the team has agreed to terms with Josh Howard pending a physical. The guard/forward could be ready by tonight’s game, and if so the goal could be 5-6 minutes of relief each half for Andrei Kirilenko.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Luke Ridnour||Stephen Curry|
|SG||Malcolm Lee||Klay Thompson|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Harrison Barnes|
|PF||Derrick Williams||David Lee|
|C||Greg Stiemsma||Festus Ezeli|