Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Wizards

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves (2-5) at Wizards (0-7) - 12 PM Verizon Center
Where to Watch: FS 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 are coming off back-to-back home losses to end a five-game home stint—a pair of games the Wolves believe were winnable contests. The Washington Wizards are winless through seven games—desperate for their first victory.

Something’s got to give.

The Wolves and Wizards will meet for the first time this season at noon today at the Verizon Center. For Minnesota, it kicks off a stretch of three games in three days in three different cities, which is a first for the 2011-12 campaign. The Wolves travel to Toronto on Monday before returning home to face the Bulls on Tuesday.

The Wolves split with Washington a year ago, topping the Wizards 109-97 at home on Jan. 13 before losing 103-96 in DC on March 5.

Kevin Love looks to continue monster start

Forward Kevin Love continues to bolster the Wolves squad on both ends of the floor. He’s currently working at a clip only one other NBA player in history has attained: He and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar alone have started the season with seven straight 20 point, 12 rebound performances. Abdul-Jabbar did it 10 times to start the 1975 season. Love’s 26.1 points and 14.9 rebounds per game are fifth and second in the league, respectively.

Key matchup: Point guard proficiency

The Wolves have enjoyed a rotation of point guard play throughout the season, starting the game with Luke Ridnour’s leadership and mixing injured veteran JJ Barea and rookie sensation Ricky Rubio. Barea, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, is questionable again today. Ridnour has been an effective shooter early in games, and his 10.7 points per game is third highest on the team. Rubio has a team-high 6.7 assists per contest.

Washington’s John Wall is another do it all point guard, a threat who can not only knock down his own shot but also distribute the ball with poise. He’s averaging 15.0 points, 6.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game this season, and he’s rarely taking a breather. Wall is averaging 38.3 minutes a night, and he’s coming off his best performance of the year—22 points and nine assists in a 99-96 loss to New York on Friday.

By the numbers

The Wizards have struggled on both ends of the floor this season, averaging 86.7 points per game while giving up 98.4 points a contest—second most in the Eastern Conference. The Wolves will look to capitalize on that defensive statistic. Minnesota is currently averaging 96.3 points per game and has scored 100 points or more three times this season. Washington has allowed opponents to reach the century mark four times in 2011-12.

Injury update

Wolves forward Michael Beasley is officially listed as questionable for today’s game against Washington. Beasley suffered a right midfoot sprain against Cleveland on Friday, and if he is unable to go it will be the first time this season he has not started for Minnesota. Beasley’s 12.9 points per contest are second only to Love on the team.

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