Maybe Tyreke should take the bus to games from now on....
Minnesota Timberwolves (1-7) vs. Sacramento Kings (3-3)
Tonight, the Timberwolves will take on the Sacramento Kings for the second time this season, although it will be the team's first matchup of the season against Tyreke Evans, who was suspended for the Wolves' home opener. The Kings eeked out a one-point victory in that game on October 27th, but have dropped two out of three at Arco Arena, and come into Minnesota after losing by 9 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
The Wolves, meanwhile, are coming off of a spirited moral victory against the Los Angeles Lakers - their fourth moral victory of the season - which puts them over .500 in the Moral Standings for the first time since 2009. Kevin Love had 23 points and 24 rebounds in 38 minutes, including a career-high 11 offensive rebounds.
In their rematch against the Kings, let's break down the matchups and see who is going to come out on top this time.
Samuel Dalembert is a wonderful humanitarian and philanthropist, which he will continue to be tonight as he consistently gives away post position to Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic.
Darko Milicic vs. Samuel Dalembert
One question has come up amongst Minnesota Timberwolves fans about Darko Milicic that I think it is time to answer. How come Darko Milicic does not dunk the basketball? Why does he settle for that awkward little hook shot instead of just throwing it down on opposing centers?
The answer: It's just not sporting enough. If Darko started dunking the ball, the game would be too easy for him. Centers - not wanting to be on a poster or on a guerney being rushed to the OR - would simply move out of the way or stop playing altogether. He would murder the game. Darko, in the interest of fairness, uses the hook shot because he knows it brings him down to the level of a Dwight Howard or a Wilt Chamberlain (as a Detroit scout once noted).
Darko already brutalized DeMarcus "Al Jefferson 2.0" Cousins. Bring on Sammy D.
Winner: Darko Milicic
According to ESPN's John Hollinger, Kevin Love is on 24-hour suicide watch due to his forced captivity in Minnesota.
Kevin Love vs. Carl Landry
"Kevin Love is sad.
Play him all 48 minutes.
Most days, Kevin Love rarely leaves his house anymore and steps outside only to drive to practices and games. On his days off, neighbors have said that he just sits in the living room window wearing a UCLA robe and matching slippers, occassionally drinking shots from a bottle of Jameson. From time to time, Love will play NBA 2K11 on his XBox 360, trade himself to the Lakers for Sasha Vujacic and a 2nd round draft choice, and play virtual Kevin Love for all 48 minutes of every game. When the console is turned off, he slumps back into his chair, stares at a picture of Kurt Rambis and wonders if the bullet will be in the chamber this time.
As sad as the situation is for Kevin Love, opponents know that the last thing they can do is relax.
"Kevin keeps hoping that if he plays hard enough and grabs a few more rebounds, they'll let him go," admitted Carl Landry during a pre-game interview with KFAN. "He's even taking boards away from his own teammates, thinking it will put him a little closer to a trade. I really gotta be on my game."
Friends say that after Kevin Love's performance against the Lakers, he immediately called friend Bill Simmons to ask him which team he had been traded to. When Simmons replied that no trade had gone through, Love staggered back to the locker room.
Simmons recounted that, "Love tells me he has these recurring nightmares involving Ryan Hollins and Anthony Tolliver. He's even started boxing out random strangers while walking down the street, not knowing what else to do to increase his trade value. I don't know how to help him other than to give him support. Free Kevin Love."
Winner: No One
This may be Omri's last appearance in Tim's Game Preview if he keeps giving way to Francisco Garcia.
Omri Casspi is a career 67% free throw shooter. He does not have the stamina or strength to defend most 3's. His three point shot has not been that accurate since the middle of last season. And he is not exactly a force on the boards. If Mr. Casspi does not pick up his play soon, he will probably be playing a lot closer to Israel and will be sharing post-game meals with Allen Iverson.
The only way Michael Beasley will have to play in Europe is if David Stern's expansion program falls into place. Beasley is quietly having a MIP-level season, averaging nearly 15 points and 5 boards (and 1.2 assists) a game and taking on the leadership role on this young Wolves team. He has been vocal with teammates after they have given up points on defense and is our most aggressive offensive player.
His hip appears to be fully healed and Michael Beasley is going to score at least 25 points in this game. Put it on the board.
Winner: Michael Beasley
Tyreke Evans does intense training in order to push the accelerate down as hard as he does.
Wesley Johnson vs. Tyreke Evans
Tonight, last year's NBA Rookie of the Year goes up against this year's leading candidate for the award. It is an exciting matchup, especially for Timberwolves' fans, many of whom wanted to draft Tyreke Evans in the 2009 NBA Draft. Evans is a solid player. He's a nice scorer in the paint. He can rebound well. His defense is not terrible. He's not a great passer or playmaker for a guy in his position, but his athleticism makes up for that much of time.
Unfortunately for Kings' fans, Evans does not have the size or basketball I.Q. to handle Wesley Johnson. Worldwide Wes is having the best rookie season for the Wolves since Stephon Marbury. In the eyes of most pundits and Canis Hoopus posters, the consensus is that he was the better pick over DeMarcus Cousins, who is tied to Sacramento's bench with a referee's whistle.
Good luck trying to grow a few inches to be able to block Wes' shot or doing some pre-game conditining to be able to keep up with Wes' drives, Tyreke. You can't bring your car on the court. Evans is either going to be sitting next to Cousins with early foul trouble or he will be sitting on the hardwood after getting scored on by Wesley.
Winner (and its not close): Wesley Johnson
Contrary to popular opinion, Beno Udrih did not build his house out of his own bricks.
Sebastian Telfair vs. Beno Udrih
Some readers of my previews have suggested that I have been a little unfair to Sebastian Telfair. After all, I usually focus only on his outstanding shooting ability and shot selection without giving any regard to the rest of his skill set. Bassy has the 5th highest PER on the team (13.3) - 4th if you do not consider Mo' Ager's 17.1 - and is the leading assist man so far this year for the Wolves. The man knows how to set up an offense.
The reason that I focus on the shooting, I guess, is because when Bassy sets up an offense, its kind of like he's playing Jenga. He'll pull the first few pieces out fine. Then he takes a shot and it starts to wobble. A few more shots and the game looks like its about to tip over. Until finally, the offense that he did so well setting up falls back to the table after Bassy insists on pulling out one of the bottom support pieces.
That being said, Bassy is playing Beno Udrih tonight. If basketball is Jenga, Beno Udrih would be the kid who just pulls out four pieces at a time and smashes the game apart with his bare hands. Beno Udrih is to point guards as Tyreke Evans is to highway state troopers. Sure, they can both put on the uniform. But its never really believable.
Winner: Sebastian Telfair
It wouldn't be a Sacramento Kings' game preview without a picture of DeMarcus Cousins.
The Wolves are making major strides and no one sees them coming. We should win easy tonight, but if Tyreke has a good game and makes it close, we have the players to get it done in close game situations.
My prediction: Timberwolves 109 - Sacramento 75
Timberwolves record: 2-8 (72 games until the first round begins)