UPDATE (4:58 PM): Add Rick Adelman to the Injury Report list. He won’t attend the game tonight for personal reasons, say reports. Hope all is okay with Rick and the Adelmans.
Tonight’s tilt is against the Atlanta Hawks at Target Center. Did you know that the Wolves have an 11-game losing streak to Atlanta? I didn’t, not until today.
That’s a trend that needs to be reversed. Like, eight matchups ago.
You see, the Hawks are one of the most unfun teams in the League. They will never make one of our All-League Pass teams, unless we write one up a “All League Pass: Most Unfun to Watch” version (which we’ll probably do at some point, perhaps in the offseason). Al Horford? Nice player, but yawnstipating. Josh Smith. Another nice player, super cool individually, but not even J-Smoove redeems the Hawks collective. Andy G and I don’t agree on everything, but we agree that we never flip to a Hawks game unless all our other channels are blacked out. Or they’re playing the Wolves. Which they do tonight.
What to expect?
The Wolves will, as ever, be shorthanded due to injuries:
*K-Love will of course be out
*Rubio will be back in. We’ll see if he gets more than 20 minutes. Methinks he won’t.
*Nik Pekovic did not practice Monday and is day-to-day. Which I assume means he’s a go.
Point Guard: Luke Ridnour vs. Jeff Teague – Teague has turned into a decent player. The Wolves have lots of depth. Depends on how Rubio plays. Advantage: Neutral
Shooting Guard: Alexey Shved vs. Lou Williams – Williams is having a nice season, averaging 15+ ppg, with a PER of 18.22. Shved’s a Punch-Drunk Wolves favorite. We think Alexey will have a nice game tonight after shooting problems last game. Advantage: Neutral
Small Forward: Andrei Kirilenko vs. Kyle Korver - Advantage: Wolves
Power Forward: Dante Cunningham vs. Josh Smith – Advantage: Hawks
Center: Nik Pekovic vs. Al Horford – Pek and Horford do different things. If the Wolves get him looks around the hoop, Horford shouldn’t be able to stop him. This one is close but I’ll go with heart over head and say, Advantage: Wolves
Bench: Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams alley-oop connection + JJ Barea, vs. Ivan Johnson, former Timberwolf Anthony Tolliver, and TWolf killer Anthony Morrow. Johnson gave the Wolves fits last season in a game we should’ve won. He’s big. Morrow’s all about the dagger and can’t be left alone. Still, Rubio vs. anyone means it’s advantage Rubio. We like Derrick Williams lobs. Advantage: Wolves
Overall, I think the Wolves can win this one – but only if Pek plays and has a very strong game.
Enjoy the tilt.