Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Warriors
Wolves (26-38) vs. Warriors (22-41) - 6 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 continue to believe they can finish off the 2011-12 season on a positive note by stringing together victories to end the year. The Wolves have a shot at putting together a winning streak tonight at home.
Minnesota will face the Golden State Warriors at 6 p.m. tonight at Target Center. The Wolves are coming off a 91-80 win over Detroit on Thursday, their first April victory since 2009—a stretch of 27 games. It also snapped the Wolves' 11-game overall losing streak.
But with that streak now over, the Wolves hope to build on the strong performance they showed against Detroit. The Wolves had five scorers in double figures, including a team-high 23 from center Nikola Pekovic and a 13-point, 12-assist effort from guard JJ Barea. The Wolves got 13 points from Michael Beasley and 11 points from Derrick Williams off the bench.
The Warriors enter tonight’s game hoping to end a streak of their own. Golden State has lost eight straight and 15 of 17 games. They are in the final game of a back-to-back-to-back stretch; Golden State lost to Dallas 104-94 on Friday and to Houston 99-96 on Saturday. Both games were on the road.
This is the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. Minnesota won the first matchup 97-93 on March 19 in Oakland, and Golden State took the last meeting 97-94 at Target Center on April 4.
Last time out
The last time the Warriors won on the road was that April 4 meeting at Target Center, and they had to put together a comeback to do it. Golden State rallied from 20 points down to win by three, thanks in large part to a 38-point third quarter that changed the momentum for the rest of the game. The Wolves seemingly had the game in hand until forward David Lee took over. Lee scored 31 points and added eight rebounds while leading the Warriors back. Guard Charles Jenkins had 19 points and seven assists, and Klay Thompson and Richard Jefferson each had 13 points. Golden State scored 24 points off of 19 Wolves turnovers in the game.
Minnesota forward Kevin Love scored 29 point and added 12 rebounds to lead the team, while guard Wayne Ellington had 17 points off the bench and Barea had 15 points. Wes Johnson added 12 points and Pekovic had 10.
Key matchup: Jenkins vs. Barea
Tonight’s game is a classic matchup of a rookie against a veteran at the point guard position, and which of the two can control the tempo and limit his team’s turnovers will likely be the one who comes out on top. Barea has filled the role of whatever the Wolves need on a nightly basis this month, churning out big scoring performances some games while focusing on distribution during others. He’s got four point-assist double-doubles in his past six games, and on Tuesday in Memphis he put together a season-high 28-point effort. His scoring is up 4.8 points per game this month to 15.8 and his assists are up 3.9 per game at 9.4 in April. When Barea takes care of the ball—he’s had three games with five or more turnovers this month—he provides invaluable energy on the offensive end.
Jenkins is beginning to put together strong performances as he continues to gain more minutes. He’s coming off 16 points and eight assists against Houston on Saturday and notched the second double-double of his career on Friday with 10 points and 10 assists against the Mavericks. Like Barea, Jenkins needs to limit his turnovers. He had five against Houston and has three or more in four of his last six games.
The Wolves had both forward Kevin Love (mild concussion, neck strain) and guard Luke Ridnour (sprained right ankle) participating in practice on Saturday and both are scheduled to be evaluated today. Both are listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Center Darko Milicic is listed as doubtful with a strained right hamstring, which had forced him to miss the last 11 games. For the Warriors, Lee has missed the last five games with a strained groin and guard Stephen Curry has missed all but four games since February with a sprained right ankle. Andre Biedrins (mild concussion) and Nate Robinson (right hamstring strain) are both day to day.
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