Tim's Game Preview: Game 33, Denver Nuggets

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Are there any Wolves fans left who would rather have Wesley Johnson than Corey Brewer?

Minnesota Timberwolves (16-16) vs. Denver Nuggets (17-15) at Pepsi Center

Tonight in Denver, the Timberwolves are trying to win their fourth straight game, a feat the team has not accomplished since February 6th, 2010. After defeating the Philadelphia 76ers last night in Minneapolis, the Wolves have one more win than the entire '09-'10 campaign and are only one win shy of matching last season's win total.

Denver has lost three straight, including an overtime thriller to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. The Nuggets have won the last six contests against Minnesota, but they are dealing with injuries to some key players.

Including tonight's game, there are two remaining before the All-Star break, after which, the Wolves will have a four-game road trip out west to play the Clippers, Lakers, Suns and Blazers. A win tonight in Denver, and a win at home on Wednesday against the Jazz, would provide some great momentum.

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Last night, Pekovic scored 17 points on only 7 shot attempts. He currently has the third highest shooting percentage in the NBA, behind only Tyson Chandler and Tiago Splitter.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. Blake Griffin's First Poster
PF: Kevin Love vs. Kenneth Faried
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Corey Brewer
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Arron Afflalo
PG: Ricky Rubio vs. Ty Lawson

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Kenneth Faried currently has a higher rebound % (20.8) and rebound per-36 (12.9) than Kevin Love (19.6 and 12.8, respectively).

Last 5 Games

Denver Nuggets: (3rd in Northwest, 7 1/2 gms behind OKC; Tied for 8th seed in West)

Sat, Feb 11: Win at Indiana 113-109
Tue, Feb 14: Win vs. Phoenix 109-92
Wed, Feb 15: Loss at Dallas 84-102
Fri, Feb 17: Loss at Memphis 102-103
Sun, Feb 19: Loss at Oklahoma City 118-124

Minnesota Timberwolves: (5th in Northwest, 8 1/2 gms behind OKC; 1 gm behind 8th seed in West)

Sat, Feb 11: Loss vs. New York 98-100
Mon, Feb 13: Loss at Orlando 89-102
Wed, Feb 15: Win vs. Charlotte 102-90
Fri, Feb 17: Win at Houston 111-98
Sun, Feb 19: Win vs. Philadelphia 92-91

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Danilo Gallinari's extension is paying for itself already.

Injuries

Denver Nuggets:

Rudy Fernandez - Day to day with strained lower back

Danilo Gallinari - Out indefinitely with a sprained left ankle

Nene - Expected to miss at least a week with a strained left calf

Minnesota Timberwolves:

No significant injuries


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Ty Lawson is a nice player, but I'd still rather have Ricky Rubio. Lawson is a better scorer, but Rubio is better in nearly every other area. Rubio is averaging more than twice the number of assists per game (8.5) that Lawson averaged in his rookie year (3.1).

Noteworthy Stats

  • Against Philadelphia, Wesley Johnson went 0-of-4 for 0 points with 2 rebounds, 1 block and 2 turnovers. It was the fifth game this season that Johnson failed to make a single shot
  • The Nuggets score the most points per game (103.8), but give up the 2nd most points per game (100.8). The Wolves rank 10th (96.6) and 17th (95.3), respectively
  • The Wolves would have to lose their next 66 games in a row for Rick Adelman to match Kurt Rambis' winning percentage as coach of the team (.195)
  • Kosta Koufos went from scoring 11.4 points on .435 shooting, and grabbing 10.4 rebounds per-36 minutes, with the Timberwolves to scoring 12.5 points on .574 shooting, with 12.4 rebounds per-36, with the Denver Nuggets.
  • Like Koufos, Corey Brewer has also made drastic improvements since leaving Minnesota. His scoring average is up 6 points and he is grabbing nearly 2 more rebounds per-36. In his four seasons in Minnesota, he averaged a WS/48 of .0225. In Denver, he has averaged a WS/48 of .1415. For everyone hoping Wesley Johnson could become something, Brewer - whose play improved around the age of 24 - is an example to point to

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One of the best parts of Nugget games is seeing George Karl on the sidelines. It's great to see him back coaching.

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