Wolves at Cavs
6:00 pm CST
Well, it's time. The Wolves will face the star they traded away for the first time, as the Wolves visit Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers.
These are two teams in very different places, as the Wolves are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings following the Kevin Love trade, multiple injuries, and poor performances from most of those who are suiting up, while the Cavs are 16-10, solidly in the playoff picture in the East, and are looking to figure out how to be even better by the end of the year, as their new roster grows.
As I wrote about in this morning's Cup of Canis, the Cavs have particularly struggled defending the rim on defense, which is a big reason why they are only 21st in defensive rating. Offensively, they are blessed with weapons, which is why even though they aren't making the best use of Love, LeBron James is not having his best year, and Kyrie Irving needs the ball a little too much, they still have the 4th best offense in the league. Given the Wolves horrible defensive struggles, especially in stopping teams from getting and converting shots at the rim, it could mean a lot of points for the home team.
For the Wolves...it will be interesting to see how they play tonight after getting called out by Flip Saunders following Sunday's debacle against the Pacers. Flip was quick with the hook, particularly for rookies Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, who he criticized for not playing with energy and purpose after the game. It's clear that they both are struggling badly, but there are limited alternatives.
Even after losing Mo Williams for several games due to back problems possibly brought on by playing too many minutes in the absence of Ricky Rubio, Flip is back to playing Mo over 30 a game as LaVine continues to have problems running the team. Meanwhile, Shabazz Muhammad has forced his way into the starting lineup, and into the highest usage role on the team, making Andrew Wiggins' struggles and driftiness even more noticeable.
For the Wolves to hang around in this one, they will have to keep Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, and Kevin Love off the offensive glass, something they have struggled with all year, and they will have to avoid fouling, as Cleveland is +7 per game in FTAs, usually an area where the Wolves have an advantage.
Here's a link to our blogging buddies over at Fear The Sword. Be excellent. Please.
No, no and no.
Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.