Tim's Game Preview: Game 27, Dallas Mavericks

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Kevin Love has stopped hanging out in Uptown and is back playing basketball tonight against the Dallas Mavericks.

Minnesota Timberwolves (13-13) vs. Dallas Mavericks (15-11) at Target Center

On Wednesday, a few hours before the Wolves were set to play the Memphis Grizzlies, Kevin Love decided to give away autographed gear to some fans. Unable to join the team in Tennessee due to his two-game suspension for repeatedly kicking Luis Scola in the face, Love tweeted that he would meet fans on the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street in Uptown Minneapolis. Love showed up to a group of fans and handed out jerseys, shirts and other autographed merchandise.

It was a nice gesture that was a fun way for him to connect to some fans in the Twin Cities.

Tonight, Love will rejoin the team and take on the Dallas Mavericks for the third time this season. The Wolves have won the first two and can sweep the series with a victory tonight.

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The Lion is back in his cage tonight, while the Unicorn will look to take out his revenge on the NBA for being snubbed by the Western Conference coaches.

Projected Starters

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. Brendan Haywood
PF: Kevin Love vs. Dirk Nowitzki
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Shawn Marion
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Vince Carter
PG: Ricky Rubio vs. Delonte West

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On Fridays this season, Wesley Johnson is shooting 35% from the floor and 25% from three point range with 1.3 turnovers per game. Wesley's best day is Tuesday, where he is shooting 45% from the floor and 50% from three with 0.7 turnovers per game.

Last 5 Games

Dallas Mavericks: (15-11; 2 1/2 gms behind in Southwest; 6th seed)

Win at Phoenix 122-99
Loss vs. Oklahoma City 86-95
Loss vs. Indiana 87-98
Loss at Cleveland 88-91
Win at Denver 105-95

Minnesota Timberwolves: (13-13; 7 gms behind in Northwest ; 1 gm behind 8th seed)

Loss vs. Indiana 99-109
Win at New Jersey 108-105
Win vs. Houston 100-91
Win vs. Sacramento 86-84
Loss at Memphis 80-85

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What is most notable about Darko's absence due to injury is how little anyone cares.

Injuries

Dallas Mavericks:

Jason Kidd - Questionable with strained right calf

Jason Terry - Questionable with strained right hip flexor

Minnesota Timberwolves:

Darko Milicic - "Ankle injury" and missing backbone

Malcolm Lee - Continuing his rehab tonight in his second game with the Sioux Falls Skyforce

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The good thing for Dirk is that his face looks like it has already been stepped on.

Recent News

Dirk Nowitzki was selected as an Western Conference All-Star reserve, which will be his 11th consecutive All-Star nod.

Kevin Love was also selected as a Western Conference All-Star reserve, which is his second appearance.

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How many Hall of Famers do you think are in this picture?*

Noteworthy Stats

  • Only three players in the NBA this season have played more than 150 minutes and made less than 10 shots: Jamaal Magloire (7-of-25), DeSagana Diop (7-of-27) and Brian Cardinal (6-of-32)
  • Nikola Pekovic averages more shot attempts (16.1 to 15.4), points (26.1 to 22.1) and rebounds (13.5 to 13.2) per-48 on the road than at home. He also shoots better (.700 to .578) away from the Target Center
  • Lamar Odom's usage rate (22.2) is the highest it has been over the past eight seasons, but his PER (9.8) is the lowest of his entire 13-year career
  • Dallas ranks 5th in the NBA in 3-point attempts (21.4 per game), but ranks 21st in 3P% (.322). Minnesota ranks 11th in attempts (19.9) and 20th in 3P% (.330)
  • Despite having the lowest shooting percentage of his career (.414), Michael Beasley's shot attempts have gone down from last season (17.1 to 13.2) and he is grabbing a full rebound more than last season (6.6 to 5.6).

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I like Brian Cardinal, but it might be safe to say he is currently the worst player in the NBA. Wesley Johnson's stellar PER of 5.9 is more than twice that of The Janitor (2.4).

*The correct answer is zero, since none of the five are in the Hall of Fame yet.
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