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ESPN's Haberstroh: " Minnesota defense a mirage..."

Here's le part about the Wolves: Flukes and for-real teams: Minnesota defense a mirage while Brooklyn's offense looks legit 2. The fluke identity change category For a while last season, the Celtics looked like the Mike D'Antoni-led Phoenix Suns, who took the "outscore your opponent" philosophy to the literal extreme. At the 10-game mark, the Celtics' offense ranked 11th while their defense ranked 19th. Not exactly Beantown's brand of basketball. The team's ranks from then on: 28th in offense and first in defense. Now that's more like it. If you're looking for a team that will undergo a midseason makeover like Boston did, I give you the Minnesota Timberwolves. Did you notice that they have a top-five defense right now? Yes, the Timberwolves, who ranked 21st on defense last season, have been nasty on that end of the floor. But of course it's not the same team. The Wolves have missed the offensive magic of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, but the young duo should rejoin the team sometime in December. And their return should dramatically improve the team's bottom-10 ranking on offense. Secondly, the oft-injured defensive savant, Andrei Kirilenko, has missed at least 10 games in each of his past eight seasons in the NBA. Though the Timberwolves have caught a nasty case of the injury bug, it somehow hasn't plagued Kirilenko yet. If and when that happens, expect their offensive and defensive rankings to fly in opposite directions.

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