Wolves vs. Wizards Gameday





Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Wizards 7 PM - Target Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 KFAN 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:
* Michael Beasley (ankle) - DOUBTFUL

Wizards:
* Andray Blatche PF - DAY-TO-DAY
* Josh Howard SF - DAY-TO-DAY

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
The direction of the Washington Wizards is clear at this point. The franchise will undergo a rebuilding process and form a new-look team around No. 1 overall pick John Wall...not Gilbert Arenas. After Arenas' name was bandied about for the first couple months of the season, Washington finally caught a trade partner and shipped him to Orlando in exchange for Rashard Lewis. The move was necessary for a team that was buried under the rubble of Arenas' gun incidence a year ago along with several head scratching incidents to start the 2010-11 season. The prolific scorer is one of the more talented guards in the NBA but his monster contract made him expendable in the DC area. The Wizards are 4-5 following the blockbuster deal, due in large part to the return of Wall and a recent scoring outburst from Nick Young. With an overall 10-26 mark, Washington hopes to gain some steam in the second half of the season but plays the next seven of 12 games on the road.

Last Time Out
Young shockingly dropped 43 points on Tuesday night in leading the Wizards to a 136-133 victory over Sacramento. Oddly enough, both teams posted 40 points in different quarters and held double-digit leads in a rare back-and-forth offensive battle.

Five technical fouls in 10 seconds is the memorable part of Tuesday night's home loss for the Wolves. San Antonio gained the necessary separation during this technical barrage during the third quarter and resulted in a 107-96 defeat.

The Numbers Game
Kevin Love continues to open eyes across the league with his astounding production. By notching his sixth 20-20 game of the season on Tuesday night, Love leads the league in that category and has already doubled up Dwight Howard's total from last year.

Match-up to Watch
Wolves backcourt vs. John Wall
From a pure entertainment standpoint, Wall is well worth the admission. He is one of the fastest point guards in the league baseline to baseline and will attack the rim with a glimpse of daylight. The Kentucky product is capable of big offensive nights but as most rookies not named Blake Griffin, he can be inconsistent at times. A key for the Wolves backcourt is to keep the lighting quick Wall off the charity stripe where he already has 118 attempts this season despite missing 12 games. There is a 51-attempt disparity between Wall's trips to the free throw line than Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn combined. Not only will the Minnesota point guard tandem have to limit Wall's activity close to the rim, they will also try to apply pressure and make him work on the defensive end of the floor.

What to Look For
The Wolves have effectively put Tuesday's emotional defeat behind them and are focused directly on snapping a five-game losing skid. One of the main concerns for Minnesota is the potential absence of Michael Beasley after the small forward aggravated his ankle sprain for the third straight time. Beasley did not practice yesterday and head coach Kurt Rambis listed him as doubtful for the matchup against the Wizards. Rambis would not divulge to the media his replacement starter for Beasley if he is no-go tonight. Assuming Corey Brewer remains at the shooting guard spot, either Martell Webster or rookie Wes Johnson will get the nod at the small forward position. Johnson may have regained his swagger over the past couple of games coming off the bench and will look to be more effective closer to the rack.

Washington could have a hangover effect from the overtime thriller on Tuesday where both teams combined for 269 points. This team only ranks No. 25 in rebounding, allowing Minnesota to have a huge advantage on the glass tonight.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.