Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Warriors
Wolves (25-30) vs. Golden State Warriors (20-31) - 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 great road experiment of March/April 2012 is now complete for the Minnesota Timberwolves. After spending 11 of their last 13 games away from Target Center, the Wolves return home tonight to face the Golden State Warriors at 7 p.m. Minnesota will play seven of its 11 remaining games this season at Target Center.
After a difficult stretch on the road, a little home cooking might be just what the Wolves need.
The Wolves enter tonight’s game having lost their last three games and are 4-11 since their last winning streak—a three-game stretch of victories from March 3-7. Their most recent defeat came on Monday at Sacramento, falling to the Kings 116-108.
The Warriors are coming off a 98-94 loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis on Tuesday. That’s Golden State’s sixth straight loss and 11th in their past 13 games. The Warriors have allowed 100 or more points to their opponents in six of their last eight games. In this head-to-head series, Golden State is 13-5 in its last 18 meetings against the Wolves.
Last time out
The Wolves won their first meeting with Golden State this season, topping the Warriors 97-93 in Oakland on March 19. Kevin Love led the way with 36 points on 13-of-23 shooting and was 3-of-5 from 3-point range. He had 16 boards on the night and accounted for four of the team’s nine offensive rebounds. Both Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea had 10 assists in the game, marking the fifth time in Wolves history that teammates had double-digit assist totals. For Golden State, David Lee led the way with 25 points, newly acquired Richard Jefferson had 19 points and Klay Thompson had 17 points.
Key matchup: Love vs. Lee
Love moved back to the power forward position for much of Monday’s game against Sacramento as Brad Miller got the start and Nikola Pekovic made his return. He remains fourth in the league in scoring at 26.5 points per night and is second in rebounding at 13.6 per game. He also has a league-leading 45 double-doubles in 51 games played. Love has been a rock for the Wolves this season and continues to put up monster numbers, particularly from beyond the arc. Love comes into tonight’s game with 101 made 3-pointers this season—the most in a single season in his career. He’s shooting 38.7 percent from distance this year.
Injury woes continue at the point
The Wolves were already shorthanded at the point guard position on Monday when Luke Ridnour suffered a sprained right ankle in the waning moments of the third quarter against Sacramento. Already with Ricky Rubio gone for the season and JJ Barea not on the trip with a right thigh contusion, the Wolves finished the game with rookie Malcolm Lee playing the entire fourth quarter. Ridnour and Barea are both listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Barea has missed the last six Wolves games, and during the team’s home shootaround on Friday he said he was still waiting to begin running. Coach Rick Adelman said after Monday's game he hopes Barea will be available tonight against Golden State.
Pek produces in return to court
Center Nikola Pekovic hadn’t played in eight of Minnesota’s previous nine games heading into Monday’s tilt with Sacramento, but he made his presence felt in his return. Pekovic played 19 minutes, went 7-of-8 from the field and had 17 points and four rebounds. He shot 3-of-4 from the free-throw line and dished out two assists. Pekovic has battled bone spurs on his right ankle and ahs missed 10 games since the beginning of March.
Unexpected boosts in minutes
With Pekovic’s minutes in question leading into Monday, coach Rick Adelman started center Brad Miller for the first time this season. Miller delivered 22 minutes and went 4-of-7 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range. He had 11 points, six assists and two rebounds on the night. Meanwhile, Lee filled in admirably both before and after Ridnour left the game. He played 18 minutes, had six points and added an assist.
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