Tim's Game Preview: Game 25, Sacramento Kings

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With Kevin Love suspended for the next two games, Wolves fans will get to see what life is like without Love.

Minnesota Timberwolves (12-12) vs. Sacramento Kings (9-15) at Target Center

Last season, with Kevin Love having a career-year and one of the best statistical performances of anyone in the NBA, the Wolves were still only able to win 17 games. Without Love, the Wolves may have been the worst team of all-time. Love missed the last 9 games at the end of the 2010-2011 season and the Wolves lost every one of them.

Tonight, we'll get to see how well this new-and-improved Minnesota team will play without Love. Derrick Williams is going to start in his spot tonight, while Anthony Randolph and Anthony Tolliver, who is playing with a cold, will also likely receive minutes in Love's spot.

Ricky Rubio sadly observed that, "It will be weird when someone takes the shot and he doesn’t take the rebound. Maybe he will jump from home or something."

Maybe he will, Ricky. Maybe he will.

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There are sarcastic jokes, ironic jokes, slapstick jokes and knock-knock jokes but one of my all-time favorite jokes is...DeMarcus Cousins.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. DeMarcus Cousins
PF: Derrick Williams vs. Jason Thompson
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. John Salmons
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Marcus Thornton
PG: Ricky Rubio vs. Tyreke Evans

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It was easy to predict that last Friday night's game would turn into a battle between Nikola Pekovic and Anthony Morrow.

Last 5 Games

Sacramento Kings: (7 gms behind in Pacific; 4 1/2 behind 8th seed)

Loss at Utah 93-96
Loss at Golden State 90-93
Win vs. Portland 95-92
Win vs. Golden State 114-106 (OT)
Win vs. New Orleans 100-92

Minnesota Timberwolves: (7 games behind in Northwest; 1 1/2 behind 8th seed)

Loss vs. LA Lakers 101-106
Win at Houston 120-108
Loss vs. Indiana 99-109
Win at New Jersey 108-105
Win vs. Houston 100-91

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Clearly, Malcolm Lee is having a hard time adjusting to his new stint with the Sioux City Falls (IA) (SD) Skyforce.

Injuries

Sacramento Kings:

None

Minnesota Timberwolves:

Malcolm Lee - Currently rehabing left knee injury in Sioux Falls of the NBDL
Darko Milicic - Questionable for tonight's game with a bruised left quadriceps

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Never before has so much attention been given to the difference between the words "step" and "stomp".

Recent News

Kevin Love was suspended two games by the NBA for "driving his foot into the upper body and face of the Rockets' Luis Scola as Scola was lying on the floor." Love has since apologized to Luis Scola and the Rockets.

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I expected his list to read, "1. Jonny Flynn 2. Kevin Ollie 3. Magic Johnson 4. Kobe Bryant 5. Anyone Not Named Ricky Rubio."

Noteworthy Stats

  • Nikola Pekovic is taking 11.9 shots per-36 minutes this season, which is up from 10.7 last season, and has also improved his eFG% from .517 to .617.
  • J.J. Barea is currently taking the most shot attempts per-36 on the team with 16.6. Michael Beasley (16.5), Kevin Love (16.2), Martell Webster (14.8) and Anthony Randolph (12.7) round out the top 5.
  • When looking at net production by position (in PER), the Wolves are getting outplayed at the point guard (-0.1), shooting guard (-2.1) and small forward (-6.9) positions. They are outplaying teams at center (+1.6) and power forward (+7.0).
  • Jimmer Fredette is currently shooting better from three-point range (39%) than two-point range (35%)
  • Wayne Ellington is tied for the 4th lowest turnover ratio in the NBA (with Charles Jenkins), behind only Matt Bonner, Ryan Anderson and Jodie Meeks
  • Ricky Rubio has had 11 double-doubles this season. The other NBA rookies have combined for 9 double-doubles.

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Just a reminder that Kevin Love's 4th annual coat driveis ongoing and ends February 17th. You can bring new coats to any of eight metro-area drop-off locations, including the Target Center Box Office and Comcast service centers, with all donations supporting The Salvation Army.

Each fan who donates a coat will receive a pair of tickets to the February 22nd game vs. the Utah Jazz for each new coat they donate (limit four tickets per family while supplies last).

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