Scouting Report: Wolves at Rockets

Scouting Report: Wolves at Rockets

Wolves (9-11) at Rockets (12-8) - 7 PM Toyota 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.

Coach Rick Adelman will return to Houston for the first time this season since leaving the Rockets as their head coach last year and try to get his Timberwolves back on track after a tough loss last night at home.

Minnesota enters tonight’s matchup following a 106-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night, a game in which the Wolves nearly had after making a stellar comeback late in fourth. The loss marked their fourth missed opportunity to have climbed to the .500 mark this season but does not mean they are out of the hunt.

Tonight’s game is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Toyota Center.

"Tomorrow is going to be a big game for us because eventually we are going to have to keep fighting to get to .500," forward Kevin Love said.

By the numbers

The Rockets (12-8) have won nine of their last 10, and look to secure their second win over the Wolves since defeating them last Monday 107-92. With its only loss since Jan. 11 coming Wednesday against Milwaukee, Houston continues to move up within the Southwest division, remaining 1/2 game behind Dallas (13-8).

What to watch for: Houston’s reserves

The Rockets have seen impressive scoring efforts from its bench since its last matchup with Minnesota and may see it again tonight. Against the New York Knicks on Saturday night, the Rockets’ bench scored 61 of the team’s points en route to a 97-84. Forward Chase Budinger led the team in scoring with 19 points while guard Goran Dragic and center Jordan Hill finished with 16 and 14 points respectively. And with leading scorer Kevin Martin missing the last two games, Budinger has helped fill the void, averaging 20 points a game on 57.7 percent shooting against Washington and New York.

Wolves Minute Hosted By John Focke

Overcoming slow starts

The Wolves continue to battle slow starts that leave them battling back late in games—against the Lakers, Minnesota needed to climb out of an 18-point third quarter deficit. While they have had successful runs down the stretch, the team knows it has to start strong from tip-off and maintain that pace until the end to excel within the league.

"Collectively as a team, it took us too long (to get started),” Love said following Sunday’s loss. “That has been kind of our Achilles heel. We figure if we start the game well, we can always finish it well. We have been a second half team, really throughout this entire year. We just need to come out in the first 24 minutes and replicate what we do out there in the second half as well."

New group emerges

During the team’s 18-point comeback on Sunday, the combination of Love, Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph, Martell Webster and Ricky Rubio was on the floor. The group put together a 27-10 run from midway through the third into the fourth to bring the Wolves back to within a point with 9:38 left. Love led the team with 33 points, Beasley had 18, Webster had 10 and Randolph had nine.

Injury report

Wolves center Darko Milicic missed both Friday and Sunday’s games with an illness. Guard JJ Barea continues to be listed as doubtful while he recovers from a sprained left ankle suffered Jan. 10 against Chicago. He has missed nine of the last 10 games. Center Brad Miller made his first return to the court Sunday late in the fourth and finished 3-of-4 from the line.

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