Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Kings

Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Kings

Kelsey Kroll
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate


Wolves (4-8) vs. Kings (4-9) - 7 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on WCCO 830 AM.

To say the Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night was gut-wrenching would be an understatement. Even with Wolves forward Kevin Love pacing the team with 30 points and 13 rebounds and rookie point guard Ricky Rubio adding a double-double in his second consecutive NBA start, the Hawks overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Wolves 93-91 in Atlanta. Minnesota will try to get back on track tonight against the Sacramento Kings at Target Center. Tipoff is set for 7 PM.

Taking care of business at home

Coach Rick Adelman said entering Friday’s matchup against the New Orleans Hornets that statistics on paper only prove so much. The Kings’ 4-and-9 record is just a number on paper – something a team can not underestimate.

Still, the Wolves will look to take advantage of Sacramento’s road woes. The Kings are 1-6 on the road this year and are coming off a 99-60 loss in Dallas on Saturday. They have been outscored by 24 points per game in those six road defeats, and away from Power Balance Pavilion they are scoring 84.3 points per contest. At home they are scoring 97.6 points a night.

Guard Marcus Thornton led the Kings Saturday with 14 points against Dallas, while center DeMarcus Cousins tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Kings shot just 17.4 percent to the Mav’s 52.4 percent, while also holding a 31-24 rebounding edge.

What to watch for

Wolves Minute Hosted By John Focke

As Sacramento comes to town Monday for its fifth consecutive road game in a week, the Wolves know they cannot afford a slow start or late comeback – regardless of the Kings’ schedule or record. Thornton continues to lead the Kings in scoring, averaging 18.2 points per game, and is followed by guard Tyreke Evans with 17.5 points per game.

For the Wolves, Rubio has made two consecutive starts alongside fellow point guard Luke Ridnour in the back court, and he’s continuing to thrive. Rubio notched 18 points, 12 assists and five steals on Saturday. Not only were his 15 field goal attempts the most he’s taken all year, but he again showed he’s willing to take the big shot. His 3-pointer with 27 seconds left tied the game at 91-91 against the Hawks on Saturday.

“Some teams are playing more aggressive against me than others, so I have to adjust my game,” Rubio said.

Controlling tempo

Over the weekend against New Orleans and Atlanta, the Wolves were outscored a combined 45-11 in fast break points. That’s a statistic the Timberwolves are looking to change, and it starts with their own shot selection and the ability to control a game’s tempo. Taking care of the basketball, setting up their offense and converting possessions into points will limit their opponents’ transition game. Love said after Saturday’s loss to the Hawks that the team needed to get the ball to the basket and rely less on jump shots down the stretch.

Injury report

Guard JJ Barea, who has missed the past two games due to a sprained left ankle suffered during Tuesday’s contest against the Bulls, is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. Forward Michael Beasley has missed the past five games with a right mid foot sprain suffered Jan. 6 against Cleveland and also is listed as doubtful against the Kings.

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