Wolves vs. Kings: What to Watch For

‘Reke rocks the party

A struggling Wolves squad limps into Sacramento tonight trying to break their five-game losing streak against the Kings. Can they do it?

A few weeks ago, this would’ve looked like a gimme. But not anymore.

The Wolves are in disarray. At 5-7, they’re already in the cellar of a solid Northwest Division, just behind the 6-8 Portland Trailblazers. But if the Wolves lose tonight and fall to 5-8, that gap is likely to wide further tomorrow, with Portland scheduled to take on the Winless Washington Wi’zards.They badly need a win.

The good news is that the 4-9 Kings are sub-par competition – even despite the Wolves’ injury woes, puzzling rotations, and lack of synchronicity on offense since All-Star forward Kevin Love returned from a freak knuckle injury.

The Kings just aren’t very good, and the Wolves need to grab that low-hanging fruit and eat it while it’s in front of them, since a win tomorrow night at the Clippers on the wrong side of a back-to-back won’t be easy, and neither will Friday night’s home game against Milwaukee, whose backcourt of Jennings and Ellis should enjoy exploiting the Wolves’ greatest vulnerabilities – the bad offense and defensive being played by our guards.

Don’t get me wrong: SAC has some nice pieces–Demarcus Cousins is supremely talented (so much so that he was the subject of a recent debate Andy G and I had), and he’s a beast on the boards; Tyreke Evans can do a little of everything (which will hopefully include shooting SAC out of this one); Jason Thompson is an underrated big; and the Aaron Brooks/Isaiah Thomas duo is, sadly, better than our counter at the point, Luke Ridnour.

But those pieces don’t fit well together, and besides that, you can never know for sure if Cousins will get ejected, ‘Reke will shoot you out of a game, or Marcus Thornton will show up with his volume scorer’s hat on.

A few parting shots on the Wolves:

  • I suspect Rick Adelman will play Mal Lee considerable minutes as a defensive stopgap against ‘Reke. That’s a mistake. Alexey Shved would be a far better choice, tonight and forever
  • The Wolves will struggle to win unless Ridnour or Barea shows up.
  • Can Kirlenko be effective with Love in the lineup? The two don’t gel on offense. It would be nice to see Kirilenko cutting more during Love’s touches on the perimeter, and for the two to build chemistry via some much-needed K-Love passing.
  • Derrick Williams made a few shots the other night. It was probably nothing, but if he hits some more tonight, it sure would be fun to begin speculating about whether it could be a pattern emerging.

‘Til postgame.


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