Tim's Game Preview: Game 23, New Jersey Nets

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Minnesota Timberwolves (10-12) vs. New Jersey Nets (8-15) at Prudential Center

Right now, the New Jersey Nets are a team of uncertainty. How will the team fare if and when it finally moves to Brooklyn? Will a trade for Dwight Howard ever happen? Is Deron Williams going to remain with the team or opt out and choose a new team this summer? Depending on the decisions of a couple of different people over the next six months or so, the direction of the franchise could change quite significantly.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are a team that has a pretty clear future. Kevin Love is certain to remain with the team for at least three more seasons and keep up his All-Star level of play. Ricky Rubio looks certain to become one of the league's top point guards and win the hearts of basketball fans the world over. Wesley Johnson will continue to provide fans with new ways - statistical and otherwise - to declare how historically bad he's performing this season.

Let's take a look at tomorrow night's matchup:

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Projected Starting Lineup:

C: Darko Milicic vs. Shelden Williams
PF: Kevin Love vs. Kris Humphries
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Shawne Williams
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Jordan Farmar
PG: Ricky Rubio vs. Deron Williams

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Last 5 Games

New Jersey Nets:

(8.5 games behind in Atlantic; 3 games out of 8th seed in East)

Feb. 1 - W vs. Detroit 99-96
Jan. 31 - L at Indiana 99-106
Jan. 29 - L vs. Toronto 73-94
Jan. 27 - W at Cleveland 99-96
Jan. 25 - W at Philadelphia (OT) 97-90

Minnesota Timberwolves:

(7.5 games behind in Northwest; 3 games out of 8th seed in West)

Feb. 1 - L vs. Indiana 99-109
Jan. 30 - W at Houston 120-108
Jan. 29 - L vs. LA Lakers 101-106
Jan. 27 - W vs. San Antonio 87-79
Jan. 25 - W at Dallas 105-90

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Injuries

New Jersey Nets:

Marshon Brooks, broken right pinky toe, out indefinitely
Damion James, foot surgery, out for the season
DeShawn Stevenson, sore knee, out for at least two weeks
Brook Lopez, foot surgery, out for at least 4-6 weeks
Mehmet Okur, back spasms, day-to-day
Anthony Morrow, sprained ankle, day-to-day
Johan Petro, flu, day-to-day

Minnesota Timberwolves:

Malcolm Lee, knee, out at least 3-4 weeks

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Recent News:

The New Jersey Nets have signed guard Keith Bogans to the veteran's minimum (around $600,000) for the remainder of the season.

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Noteworthy Stats:

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves are 5-4 on the road so far this season. In each of the past two seasons, the Wolves went 5-36 in road games.
  • Among point guards who average more than 30 minutes per game, Deron Williams have the 4th highest turnover rate (13.8) behind Brandon Knight (15.5), John Wall (14.8) and Rajon Rondo (14.4).
  • Only five rookies in NBA history have averaged more than 8.5 assists per game for their entire rookie season: Phil Ford, Tim Hardaway, Damon Stoudamire, Oscar Robertson and Mark Jackson. Ricky Rubio is currently averaging 8.7 assists per game.
  • Kevin Love is the only player to have started all 22 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves. No New Jersey player has started in all of their 23 games this season.
  • Rick Adelman's .455 win percentage (10-12) would currently place him 2nd all-time amongst Timberwolves coaches, behind only Flip Saunders at .558 (411-326). Adelman would have to lose his next 39 games in a row to equal Kurt Rambis' .195 winning percentage as head coach with the Timberwolves.
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