Wolves at Spurs
7:30 pm CST
The Wolves visit the Spurs tonight in the 2nd night of a back to back for both clubs. The Wolves, of course, lost in overtime at home last night to the Rockets, while the Spurs were in Memphis where they knocked off the Grizzlies behind their usual balanced attack and some spectacular three point shooting (14-25).
Tony Parker left last night's game with a sore hamstring, and it's unlikely that Gregg Popovich would risk his All-Star point guard the next night, especially against a decimated Wolves squad that doesn't have the talent to really worry the Spurs. It's doubtful that we will have to contend with Parker, who regularly torches the Wolves with his forays into the lane. In the first meeting of these teams, an easy Spurs win, Parker went for 28 on 12-18 shooting, getting free for layup after layup early before knocking down all three of this three point attempts.
The Spurs still have plenty going for them, however, with Kawhi Leonard rounding in form and Tim Duncan still controlling the paint. They have been excellent recently, winning 12 of their last 14 (including last month's 121-92 cruise at Target Center), and currently feature the 2nd best defense in the NBA. They do it by limiting opponent's good looks, especially around the arc, not fouling, and maintaining the best defensive rebounding percentage in the league. Because the Wolves absolutely rely on offensive rebounding as part of their offense, this looms as a big issue tonight.
Meanwhile, the Spurs are heating up from beyond the arc, and are now 5th in the league in 3P%. Danny Green leads them in attempts and makes and is shooting 43% from 3. Parker has been red hot though on low volume so far, but the Wolves shouldn't have to worry about him tonight. His likely replacement, Cory Joseph, is not a distance shooter.
The Wolves are coming off an encouraging performance even in a tough loss, and will once again be without Mo Williams, who did not make the trip due to back problems. Hopefully this is short lived and he is back once the team returns to Target Center, because they have no point guards available. Presumably Zach LaVine and Corey Brewer will share those duties again tonight.
Once again we'll be looking for signs of encouragement from the Wolves young players, some of which we got last night. Andrew Wiggins has another tough match up with the much stronger Kawhi Leonard after he suffered foul trouble against James Harden. Still, he made a few big plays late which was good to see. Zach LaVine gets a break assuming no Parker, and we will once again look to see energy and scoring off the bench from Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 20 in 27 minutes against the Rockets and is now third on the team in points despite being 7th in minutes.
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Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.