Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Nets
Wolves (17-21) vs Nets (25-16) — 7:00 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
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After getting back on track with a strong win against Houston, the Wolves dropped their last game against Atlanta on Monday. A sharp Brooklyn Nets squad comes to Minneapolis tonight, and their well-rounded attack will try and gain an inter-conference win against Minnesota. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
The Nets’ most consistent and productive play comes from their core trio of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. Williams is a strong guard who dishes out 7.8 assists per game along with scoring 16.9 points per game as well. Long and solid, Lopez is leading Brooklyn in scoring [18.5 PPG] and rebounding [7.4 RPG]. Johnson shoots well and is a scoring wing who holds the second-best scoring rate on the team with 17.4 PPG.
One name to watch out for is Andray Blatche. After enduring a tough season in Washington, Blatche signed with Brooklyn this year and is having a sort of resurgence, shooting a career-best .499 from the field and posting highly efficient numbers with only 20 minutes per game of playing time. With Blatche coming off the bench, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace round out the starting lineup.
Last Time Out: Nov. 5, 2012
The Wolves launched a comeback for the ages when they spurned a 22-point deficit in the second half and ended up topping Brooklyn 107-96 on Nov. 5.
Executing the fourth-largest comeback in franchise history, Minnesota gained 21 points from Nikola Pekovic and 16 off the bench from Chase Budinger as they dominated the fourth quarter. For a game that once looked bleak, the Wolves came back and finished with authority, scoring the game’s final 11 points.
“We can't afford to lose at home,” said then-Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson, who has since been replaced by P.J. Carlesimo. “We're trying to build a home-court advantage, we're trying to get us a rhythm here at home, some momentum. So this was one that was definitely a winnable game."
Deron Williams had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets, while Joe Johnson tallied 19 points. Brooklyn shot very well from the perimeter [56 percent from 3] but was out-rebounded 45-29 and lost the turnover battle.
Key Matchup: Andray Blatche and Greg Stiemsma
After spending seven up-and-down seasons in Washington, Blatche was released as a casualty of the NBA’s amnesty clause this summer. He quietly signed with Brooklyn, and he has turned out to be one of the league’s more interesting surprises in 2012-2013. Per 36 minutes (he averages 20.3 MPG), Blatche is averaging 19.6 PPG and 10.5 RPG in the most productive season of his career.
Stiemsma will be called to action again as he should replace the injured Nikola Pekovic in the starting lineup. He scored 11 points against Atlanta while playing 28 minutes, by far his most of the season. The big man will have to find a way to help ease the loss of Pekovic while reducing his own fouls—he sometimes gets called for aggressive screens or hacks down low.
Wolves guard Alexey Shved did minor work on Tuesday at practice, but coach Terry Porter said he was unsure Shved was ready to go after suffering a sprained left ankle on Thursday against the Clippers. The Wolves are still missing Nikola Pekovic, who suffered a right quad contusion in that same game against L.A. He’s scheduled to miss 7-10 days.
The Nets look to be healthy heading into tonight’s game.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Deron Williams|
|SG||Luke Ridnour||Joe Johnson|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Gerald Wallace|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Reggie Evans|
|C||Greg Stiemsma||Brook Lopez|