Things continue to look bleak on the injury front, however, as both Mo Williams and Shabazz Muhammad were limited yesterday in practice and their availability for tonight's tilt is in question.
Flip said after practice today both Mo Williams (back) and Shabazz Muhammad (ankle) were questionable for Friday's game. Neither practiced.— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) December 4, 2014
Williams is having back trouble, not a shock perhaps given the minutes load recently, and Muhammad has a sore ankle. Without Williams, the Wolves are entirely without a point guard on the roster, and we will likely see Zach LaVine not only start but play a huge number of minutes.
In other injury news, nobody is close to returning. Rubio and Martin are looking at January returns from their respective injuries. Nikola Pekovic may be back sooner, but what the actual problem(s) is and when he might return remains vague. Darren Wolfson suggests he may be a week away from "doing some stuff."
As much as I hate it, I fear we may have reached the point in Pek's career where not being able to stay on the floor is the norm. Frustrating for everybody, especially Pek I would think.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets come to town also ravaged by injuries, as Dwight Howard continues to miss time, Patrick Beverly is out again, and their other point guard, Isaiah Canaan is questionable for tonight. Oh, and Terrence Jones remains out. And yet they are 14-4 and one of the top teams in the league, coming off one of their best wins of the season over the Memphis Grizzlies at home.
Their depth has helped them withstand the injuries, as guys like Tarik Black and Donatas Motiejunas have stepped up, and veterans like Jason Terry and Trevor Ariza have played well in support of James Harden. Their defense has been among the best in the league in both opponent's efg% and turnover rate, and has been significantly ahead of their offense, which is a major change for them.
This will be the 2nd match up of these squads after their game in Mexico City last month in which the Rockets cruised to a 113-101 win. Dwight Howard was too much for the Wolves inside that night, happily they won't have to worry about him this time. Of course, Tarik Black has been dominating the offensive glass especially in Howard's absence (9 offensive rebounds against the Grizz Wednesday), and the Wolves defensive rebounding has been pretty awful, so that could be a major problem.
The Rockets went 13-28 from three in that first meeting, headlined by the combined 7-7 effort from Terry and Kostas Papanikolaou. It would behoove the Wolves to actually guard the arc against the team that takes the most threes in the league.
The other memorable thing about that game was the good job I thought Andrew Wiggins did guarding James Harden. Harden finished with 23 points that night but it took him 23 shots to get there, and he only went to the line for five free throw attempts. I remember thinking Wiggins did a terrific job making things tough on Harden without fouling, and would love to see a similar effort tonight.
Today's musical birthday is Sonny Boy Williamson, born in 1912 (d. 1965)
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