Wolves @ Rockets Gameday





Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves @ Rockets 7:030 PM - Toyota Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM

*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 1130 AM.

Notable Injuries:
Wolves:
* Luke Ridnour (personal reasons) - OUT
* Martell Webster (back spasms) - OUT
* Michael Beasley (hip flexor strain) - DAY-TO-DAY
* Darko Milicic (hip flexor strain) - DAY-TO-DAY

Rockets:
* C Yao Ming (stress fracture, left ankle) - OUT
* F Jordan Hill (sprained left ankle) - DAY-TO-DAY

Scouting Report:

Big Picture
In a demanding seven-game stretch over the past 14 days, the Rockets have been quite impressive, winning four of those contests and three straight. Following a 129-125 road win over the Wolves, Houston defeated the Clippers, suffered defeats to Dallas and San Antonio before suffering a narrow overtime loss to the Lakers. The Rockets bounced back by earning victories past Utah, Memphis, and Denver heading into tonight's matchup against Minnesota. Amid a nice stretch of wins, head coach Rick Adelman is dealing with a couple of distractions in the locker room. Starting point guard Aaron Brooks walked out of a close game on Monday night and seemed upset for receiving the hook from Adelman. The result of Brooks' public display of displeasure was a one-game suspension and potentially more. Adelman told reporters he will speak to Brooks before making a decision on his role moving forward with the team. Meanwhile, Ish Smith was recalled from the D-League and played 12 minutes off the bench last night. At 25-28, the Rockets are hoping for a run to the postseason during the second half of the year but they are not sure if the current cast of players will remain in Houston past the trade deadline. Despite a report last week that the Knicks, Nuggets, and Wolves were involved in trade discussions, the Rockets are still rumored as one team that would rent Carmelo Anthony for the final two months of the season. The chatter might intensify over the next week as Houston plays its next four games at home.

Last Time Out
Anthony erupted for 50 points and the Nuggets scored 37 fourth quarter points against the Rockets last night. However, Houston displayed resiliency without Brooks in the lineup, winning 108-103 in Denver.

The Wolves waltzed into New Orleans Arena on Monday and confidently dispatched the Hornets 104-92 behind Kevin Love's 37th straight double-double of the season.

The Numbers Game
In last night's big road victory over New Orleans, Minnesota racked up 33 points behind the arc by shooting 42.3 percent in the win.

Match-up to Watch
Corey Brewer vs. Kevin Martin
On January 24 at the Target Center, Rockets shooting guard Kevin Martin caught fire early with 16 points in the first quarter. Corey Brewer was whistled for two quick fouls and the Wolves backcourt could not contain Martin's unorthodox shooting stroke as he posted 34 points. Martin reached the free throw line 18 times and knocked down 3-of-6 3-point attempts. His productivity helped Houston score 65 first half points while building a 19-point lead early in the fourth quarter. The Wolves can usually lean on Brewer to lock up the opposition or at least make him work for every scoring opportunity. Brewer must challenge Martin tonight and make the Rockets search for other scorers late in the shot clock. One would assume that Brewer will earn more than the 15 minutes he registered last night. Wayne Ellington and Wes Johnson both played over 20 minutes in the victory against New Orleans.

What to Look For
Travelling without Luke Ridnour and Martell Webster, the Wolves recorded an impressive road win last night. Minnesota may enter the contest tonight even more shorthanded as Darko Milicic suffered a left hip flexor strain and Michael Beasley left the game with a left ankle sprain. Once again, Anthony Tolliver (4 3-pointers last night), Johnson, Ellington, and even Lazar Hayward will have to elevate their play to defeat the Rockets for the first time this season. Love is searching for his 38th straight double-double, which would break Kevin Garnett's franchise record.

After holding New Orleans to just 92 points, the Wolves will also need a strong defensive performance to limit the league's fourth most prolific offense in terms of points per game. Houston is also 14-10 at home 14-6 against teams with a record below .500.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.