Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
In their 22nd game on their magical voyage to 73-9, the magnificent Minnesota Timberwolves take on the magic dullards of Orlando.
The Wolves are on their way down to the worst place in America, Lower Alabama: a paradise of strip malls, diseased swamps, and gated communities used to corral old people.
During their two-day swing through upper-Hell they will take on the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat. This is a rough little patch of games following an abnormally long December break in the action. The last two tilts have seen Rick Adelman shorten his already short bench while handing out a TON of minutes to Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirelenko, Nikola Pekovic, and Luke Ridnour. Hopefully Kevin Love will be over his flu-like symptoms and will, at the very least, be able to provide some minutes to take the load off of AK's plate.
Also, while the return of Ricky was the obvious highlight of the overtime win over Dallas, the next biggest development was the use of Alexey at the 3. I don't know how often the team can get away with this sort of thing, but it certainly is something to keep an eye on going forward if Josh Howard is going to miss time. It also reinforces the idea that the Chase Budinger injury could go down as being the most long-term problem for any post season chances the Wolves might entertain. Heavy minutes are bad. Mui bad. I'm ready for Adelman to go straight-up Pop on Pek and AK. Hopefully the team is limiting practice minutes and giving these guys added rest so that they can be effective when they are needed the most. A front-end game in Orlando might be the perfect night to start Lou Amundson, Greg Stiemsma, and Derrick Williams while telling them that they're playing as many minutes as humanly possible.
Or, if you want to be cavalier about it, do whatever needs to be done tonight to win in Orlando and then pull a Pop in Miami on NBA TV: Don't even send AK, Ricky, and Pek to Miami.
The good guys:
The bad guys:
Our blogging buddies for the day are over at Orlando Pinstriped Post.
Be excellent to one another.