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 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:


* Yao Ming (ankle) - OUT

* Brad Miller (sore right knee) - DAY-TO-DAY

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
During the first meeting between Houston and Minnesota on November 6, the Rockets snapped a five-game losing skid to start the season with a 120-94 home win. Despite the significant loss of Yao Ming for the season, Houston has managed to compile a 20-25 record but several spots from a potential playoff seed as the eighth seed will most likely need a mark well above .500 to make the postseason. Last week, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov pulled out of the Carmelo Anthony trade negotiation, which could in effect open the door for the Rockets. Rumors have swirled around the Houston franchise that its owner would take a risk and acquire Anthony regardless of the All-Star signing a contract extension. The Rockets and other teams will continue to evaluate potential acquisitions with the trade deadline approaching. Meanwhile, the current group of players for Minnesota and Houston will hit the floor tonight in the second matchup of the season. The Rockets enter the contest with a rough schedule ahead, playing their next five of six games on the road.

Last Time Out
Orlando built a 24-point lead in the third quarter of Saturday’s game in Houston. The Rockets could not hold Dwight Howard and the potent Magic deep perimeter attack while falling 118-104.

The Wolves could not overcome the loss of Darko Milicic (ankle) and Nikola Pekovic (flu-like symptoms) in a 126-111 road defeat to the red-hot Clippers.

The Numbers Game

Michael Beasley was more effective in his second game after missing time due to a sprained ankle. In the first outing, Beasley only scored 12 points in 26 minutes, compared to 21 on Wednesday night in 31 minutes before a late-game ejection sent him to the Minnesota locker room.

Match-up to Watch
Corey Brewer vs. Kevin Martin
Healthy and now the focal point of the Rockets offense, Kevin Martin is enjoying a nice start to the 2010-11 campaign. The shooting guard is averaging 23.3 points per game and shooting 40.6 percent behind the arc to lead Houston. A consistent shooter during his team in Sacramento, Martin has elevated his game by attacking the rim, averaging 8.6 free throw attempts a contest. Additionally, he knocks down 89 percent at the charity stripe, which makes Martin an offensive threat with multiple ways of filling up the final box score. As the Wolves defensive specialist, Corey Brewer will be relied on to limit Martin’s productivity in tonight’s game. Brewer can spark the first unit with his relentless prodding on the defensive end of the floor and finishing potential momentum changing fast breaks.

What to Look For
Minnesota has received much-needed rest and practice time after the loss to the Clippers last Wednesday night. The team hopes Pekovic recovers from the illness that kept him sidelined in Los Angeles, Milicic can return to action from the ankle injury, and Luke Ridnour’s hamstring issues are not a problem for the matchup against Houston. Not to mention, Beasley’s recent ankle woes over the past couple of weeks.

In order to jumpstart this upcoming two-game home stint, the Wolves must return to their dominant rebounding mindset. On Wednesday, Minnesota was uncharacteristically beat on the boards 48-33 against the Clippers. The Wolves still own the No. 1 rebounding ranking in the league but they will face a Houston squad that ranks in the top five in points per game. Winning the battle on the glass will help Minnesota control the tempo and establish a physical style of play on the opposite side of a work-horse type of Rockets frontline. The Wolves will also attempt to take advantage of Houston’s suspect defense as it allows 104.7 points per game.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.