Wolves vs. Rockets Gameday





Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Rockets 7:00 PM - Target 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:
* Kevin Love (groin) - DOUBTFUL
* Darko Milicic (ankle) - DOUBTFUL

Rockets:
* Luis Scola (sore left knee) - OUT
* Kyle Lowry (sore left foot) - OUT
* Yao Ming (stress fracture, left ankle) - OUT

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
Despite missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Rockets deserve credit for finishing above .500 regardless of the outcome in tonight’s contest. An optimistic offseason was instantly diminished when Yao Ming suffered another injury setback and Houston was forced to shuffle the parts throughout the entire season. Last year’s Most Improved Player Aaron Brooks was shipped to Phoenix and fan favorite Shane Battier was dealt to Memphis at the trade deadline. On the bright side, Kevin Martin emerged as the team’s leading scorer by averaging 23.4 points per game while point guard Kyle Lowry elevated his level play and Luis Scola maintained a consistent year at the power forward spot. All three players are under the age of 31, suggesting the Rockets own solid core pieces to build around for the immediate future. Houston’s front office staff has yet to offer head coach Rick Adelman a contract extension, which could lead to a change on the sidelines for the 2011-12 season.

Last Time Out
The Rockets pushed Dallas to overtime but fell 98-91 at home and dropped to 42-39 with three losses in their last four games.

The Wolves are clearly not throwing in the towel and Monday night’s effort was a perfect example. In an overtime thriller, Minnesota ran out of steam, losing 135-127 in Phoenix.

The Numbers Game
On Monday, Minnesota enjoyed one of its best offensive performances as a team this season. Six players reached double figures; the squad shot 54.7 percent from the floor, 43.8 percent behind the arc, and 80 percent at the charity stripe. Additionally, Luke Ridnour and Anthony Tolliver only combined to miss seven attempts.

Match-up to Watch
Wes Johnson vs. Kevin Martin
Martin dropped 28 points on the Mavericks two days ago and the prolific shooting guard averages 26 against the Wolves this season. He utilizes an unorthodox delivery from deep range along with reaching the free throw line at least eight times per game. Wes Johnson possesses the size and length to effectively defend Martin and the rookie will most likely receive assistance from Martell Webster off the bench. Offensively, the former Syracuse standout hopes to finish his first-year campaign on a high note as he has steadily increased his scoring output over the last three games.

What to Look For
Both teams enter the game undermanned but Houston was severely shorthanded in the contest against Dallas. The Rockets only suited up seven players on Monday night and missed key players such as Scola, Lowry, and Jordan Hill. Remarkably, Houston managed to outrebound the Mavericks behind Chuck Hayes’ 12 boards. Minnesota must quickly rotate on the defensive end of the floor against one of the best ball movement teams in the league as the Rockets rank No. 1 in assists per game. For the Wolves, fan appreciation night at the Target Center offers a terrific opportunity to snap a demoralizing 14-game losing skid and provide the hometown fans with a positive feeling after a disappointing season.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.