Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Kings

Wolves (12-12) vs. Kings (9-15) - 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.

The Minnesota Timberwolves finally reached the .500 mark after defeating the Houston Rockets 100-91 at Target Center Saturday night. However, the team will need to execute another strong performance tonight as they host the Sacramento Kings without Kevin Love.

Love was suspended for two games for stepping on Luis Scola during Saturday’s matchup with the Houston Rockets. The suspension was announced Monday afternoon and marks the first in Love’s four-year NBA career.

Love’s absence will likely play a factor in tonight’s game, as he leads the league in minutes played (39.5 MPG), second in rebounding (13.5 RPG) and fourth in scoring (25.0 PPG) along with 25 points and 13.7 rebounds a night.

Tonight’s game starts off a busy week for Minnesota as the team will head to Memphis on Wednesday and host the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks this weekend.

By the numbers

Tonight will be the Timberwolves’ second matchup with the Kings this season. Minnesota won the first matchup 99-86 on Jan. 16 at Target Center. In the first meeting, Kevin Loved scored 22 of his 33 points in the second half, while Luke Ridnour added a season-high 25 points to help seal the win. Sacramento is 3-11 on the road, 6-4 at Power Balance Pavilion and is looking to execute a win in the absence of the Wolves leading scorer. The Wolves are 5-2 in their past seven games and 8-4 in their past 12. They are currently 9-5 against the Western Conference.

Filling in for Love

Wolves Minute Hosted By John Focke

Without Love in the lineup, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Monday it will be an opportunity for others to step up and fill in, similar to losing a player to injury. While Love’s presence on the boards and his offensive versatility are both difficult to replace, Adelman said Anthony Tolliver and Derrick Williams will have the opportunity to step in. Tolliver has played just 12 minutes in the past six games, but he was a key component in the team’s success earlier in the season with his strong defense and perimeter game. He’s scored in double-figures four times this season and hit a pair of crucial 3-pointers late in Minnesota’s first win of the season against Dallas. Williams has nine double-digit scoring performances this season, including four straight from Jan. 21-27.

Key matchup: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Nikola Pekovic at the board

Center DeMarcus Cousins, who is averaging 15.5 points per game and leads the Kings in rebounds with 11.20 per game, saw his most impressive performance against the Golden State Warriors Sunday, scoring 21 points and a career high 20 rebounds. Against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, Cousins tallied 28 points and 19 rebounds to help erase an 18-point deficit and clinch a 100-92 victory.

For the Wolves, center Nikola Pekovic continues to be a reliable force under the basket and is averaging 9.6 rebounds per game in his past six contests. With Love missing from the lineup, Minnesota will look to Pekovic to execute another strong showing tonight. In the Wolves and Kings first meeting this season, Sacramento was led by Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Francisco with 12 points each.

Kings playing on back-to-back nights

The Kings come to Target Center winners of three straight but playing in the second of back-to-back road games. Sacramento won 100-92 at New Orleans on Monday night and will not hold shootaround at Target Center this morning. The Kings have beat the Trailblazers, Warriors and Hornets consecutively since losing five straight to end the month of January. The win over New Orleans on Monday was the team’s first road victory Jan. 20 against San Antonio, a span of six games. The Kings are 2-4 in games when they played the night before, including 1-4 in road contests.

You can become a part of the Wolves Radio Network by Howling at the Wolves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio or @JWFocke and Studio Host John Focke and Coach Steve Brown will answer them on 830 WCCO and the Wolves Radio Network.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.