Fresh off a 103-95 Friday-night loss in Portland, the Wolves play Golden State tonight at 9:30 PM CST in Oaktown.
It seems like the Wolves are getting a relatively easy road game the night after a tough loss, but a closer look suggests otherwise. The Warriors have:
- the better record on the season (7-6, vs. the Wolves’ 5-6)
- more momentum (GSW have won 4 of their last 6, the Wolves have a 4-game losing streak)
- a history of being Twolf killers (GSW has won 10 of the last 12 head-to-heads against the Wolves)
Things get bad for Team Adelman if they lose this one. Kevin Love was supposed to save the Wolves upon his return. But the Wolves were 5-4 without Love; they’re 0-2 with Love back in the lineup. As always, Love is putting up NUMB#RS, but for what?
Since Love returned, Andrei Kirilenko looks like a fish out of water, our guard play has been awful, and the team disappeared during second halves. An extended 0-fer following Love’s hyped surprise return will only serve to reinforce the relative value of Ricky Rubio to this team’s bottom line. Should Rubio, not K-Love, be the Wolves’ MVP candidate?
Other things to watch for
- Guard play will be key: Ridnour’s defense has been spotty as of late (to put it politely), and Malcolm Lee isn’t an NBA rotation player, let alone a starter. Meanwhile, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both shoot the hell out of the ball. Look for Curry to give Ridnour fits tonight.
- Frontline match-ups: The Wolves are fortunate that star GSW center Andrew Bogut won’t play due to injury, but the Dubs still have two frontline bruisers, David Lee and Carl Landry. Lee is averaging almost 17 & 11, and Landry is averaging 14.5 & 7 off the bench, with a team-high PER of 22.1. Landry is tough as nails, and at 6’9’’, won’t be afraid to bang with Pek underneath.
- Lotto pick fun: Not ours, theirs. Harrison Barnes, the Dubs’ lotto pick last summer, is having a solid, if unspectacular, rookie season and is starting at small forward. Barnes won’t ever live up to the Kobe Bryant comparisons he got out of high school, but he looks to be a nice piece for GSW for a long time.
- Josh Howard: On the Wolves side, I like what Josh Howard does, especially playing off of K-Love. Howard has that sneaky instinct that allows him to find seams and get weak-side boards while the defense is fixated on Love. Howard made a living in Dallas using Dirk as a decoy, and I hope Adelman will give Marlo a bigger role here. Benching Mal Lee and rolling with a Luke, Howard, AK47, Love, and Pek rotation – with a larger dose of Alexey Shved off the bench – would be an instant upgrade over what we’ve seen the last two games.
That’s all for now. Andy G will have a wrap of the goods and bads after the game.