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Scouting Report | Wolves vs. Wizards

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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7:00 p.m., Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO

The Minnesota Timberwolves will go up against the Washington Wizards for the first time this season on Wednesday night at the Target Center.

The Wolves go into the game with a 19-41 record, good for 13th in the West. The Wizards are 29-30, 10th in the East, but just 1.5 games back from a playoff spot.

A few tidbits going into Wednesday night’s game:

  • Big man Gorgui Dieng missed practice on Tuesday because of personal reasons. His status is unknown, but if he’s unable to go, the Wolves will be extremely thin at the power forward position. It would open the door for Damjan Rudez and Adreian Payne.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (20) and Andrew Wiggins (21) have already eclipsed 1,000 points this season.
  • Gary Neal, who played 11 games with the Wolves last season, is averaging 9.8 points per game in 40 games with Washington this season.

Coming Off Of… 

The Wolves are coming off a 128-101 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. A bright spot was the play of Shabazz Muhammad off the bench. The former UCLA wing finished with 24 points and five rebounds. Wiggins led the starters with 15 points, but shot just 5-for-14. Ricky Rubio added 14 points. Towns had another double-double (his 34th of the season), finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Dieng and Zach LaVine finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Wizards are coming off of a 116-108 home win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. John Wall was fantastic, finishing with 37 points, shooting 13-for-26 from the field. Marcin Gortat added 18 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Markieff Morris added another double-double, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Bradley Beal led the second unit with 16 points, but shot just 7-for-20 from the field. Otto Porter rounded things out with 10 points in 26 minutes.

Last Matchup:

This is the first matchup between the two teams this season. The Wolves were 1-1 against the Wizards last season. The last game came on Feb. 25 at the Target Center in Kevin Garnett’s first game back with the Wolves. Minnesota came away with a 97-77 win thanks to 28 points from Kevin Martin. Wiggins added 19 points, while Nikola Pekovic added 15 points and 13 rebounds. Garnett finished with five points, eight rebounds, two blocks, two assists and a steal.

Porter led the Wizards with 13 points. Nene Hilario and Garrett Temple finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Wolves held Wall to just five points on 2-of-5 shooting.

Key Matchup: Ricky Rubio vs. John Wall

The goal for the Wolves will to be stopping the All-Star Wall. Despite the lack of team success, Wall is having another great season, averaging 20.1 points, 9.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and two steals per game. In the month of February, Wall is averaging 21.9 points, 9.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game.

Rubio is considered one of the better defensive point guards in the league, but stopping Wall will be a tough task. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 8.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. In eight February games, he’s averaging 11.5 points, 9.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds.

Injuries:

Wizards: Neal (thigh) is questionable.

Wolves: Nikola Pekovic (foot), Nemanja Bjelica (foot) and Kevin Garnett (knee) are out.

Projected Starters:

Wizards: PG- Wall, SG – Temple, SF – Porter, PF – Morris, C - Gortat

Wolves: PG- Rubio, SG- LaVine, SG - Wiggins, PF- Dieng, C - Towns

 

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