Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Rockets
Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Rockets
Wolves (7-9) vs. Rockets (9-7) - 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 nearly put together a four-game winning streak for the first time since Jan. 29-Feb. 6, 2010 over the weekend, falling short of the feat in a 108-98 loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
Tonight, they’ll try to play spoiler on another streak. When the Houston Rockets come to town for a 7 p.m. showdown at Target Center, the Rockets come to town winners of their past six. Houston hasn’t won seven in a row since putting together a 22-game winning stretch on Jan. 29-March 16, 2008.
But the Rockets have been benefiting from a streak of five home games in that span, something that has been crucial to the team’s success this year. Houston is 7-1 at home and 2-6 on the road, having beaten Charlotte (3-14) and Washington (2-14) away from the Toyota Center.
Unique coaching matchup
The Timberwolves/Rockets matchup has a unique coaching setup to it. Wolves coach Rick Adelman spent the past four seasons leading the Rockets, and in that span he put together four .500 seasons, two years winning 50-plus games and two postseason appearances. The Rockets are led by Kevin McHale, who is in his first season on the Houston bench. McHale, a Minnesota native, spent 15 seasons with the Timberwolves organization in the front office and as head coach.
Key matchup: Shooting guard
The Timberwolves have benefited offensively with Ricky Rubio starting at point guard and Luke Ridnour moving over to essentially the shooting guard position, and off the bench Wayne Ellington has provided an offensive spark at the 2 with his strong shooting over the past five games—a stretch in which he’s hitting 64.1 percent of his shots and has scored in double digits four times. Tonight they’ll face Rockets shooting guard Kevin Martin, who is averaging 18.8 points per contest. Defensively, the 6-foot-2 Ridnour will have his hands full as the 6-foot-7 Martin has a size advantage. During Houston’s winning streak, Martin has scored 25 or more points in four of the six games.
Building a home court advantage
Tonight’s game marks the first of three home games this week for the Timberwolves, who also host San Antonio on Friday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Minnesota will be playing at Target Center in six of its next nine contests. The Wolves are currently 4-5 at home and have won two straight on their home court.
The Wolves went on their two-game road trip this weekend with five players not playing due to injury. Guard JJ Barea has missed five of the past six games with a sprained left ankle and is listed as doubtful for tonight’s matchup. Forward Michael Beasley is also listed as doubtful with a right mid foot sprain, Guard Martell Webster (back) and center Brad Miller (knee) each rejoined practice last week after undergoing offseason surgeries, but both are listed as doubtful for tonight’s game.
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.