Celtics at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
The Wolves host the Celtics, who are playing the last game of a six game road trip tonight at Target Center. Surprisingly, the Celtics have won three out of their last four on this trip, including wins in Portland, Denver, and Utah, and only a close loss at Golden State mars their recent run.
Despite trading away veterans Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, the Celtics are doing their best to keep their heads above water, sitting at 16-27 and 11th in the Eastern Conference. They play at a very fast pace (3rd in the league), so I would expect some running in this one. The Wolves ability to contain transition (ha) will be key to tonight's match up.
Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller seem to have taken steps forward in the front court, and Jae Crowder has been a positive addition on the wing since he came over in the Rondo trade from Dallas. Their back court has struggled, with Avery Bradley and Evan Turner currently the starting pair, but neither of them has been particularly efficient offensively. Marcus Smart, their prized rookie, has been coming off the bench and showing off the ferocious defense he was known for in college. Offensively, he's taking most of his shots from beyond the arc, which is a bit of a surprise, as is his 36% conversion rate on threes. His two point shooting has been atrocious and he hasn't been getting to the line because he's taking so many threes, but his efg% is a decent 50.3%. I'm really looking forward to watching him tonight.
This is a chance for the Wolves to win one, which would be nice. The Celtics should be pretty worn out and are not a great team to begin with. If the Wolves can keep them from feasting in transition, they should be able to stay in the game and perhaps win. The C's lack the rim protectors that the Hawks and especially Thunder featured in the last couple of games, so hopefully they can get some things in the paint; it would be nice to see Pek get rolling.
Kevin Martin will make his return to the lineup for the first time since November tonight it sounds like. He was slated to return last week, but a last second swelling in his injured wrist set him back. It sounds like he's better after having the wrist drained, and plans to give it a go tonight.
Meanwhile, Mo Williams will miss the game for personal reasons, and frankly he could probably use the rest anyway. He was favoring his right hip in Oklahoma City, and really struggled. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Brown is set to make his Wolves debut tonight as he begins his 10 day contract with the team, who let Miroslav Raduljica go in favor of the point guard. Finally.
The absence of Williams, however, probably means a start for Zach LaVine, and a lot of minutes at the point for him, something we would prefer not to see. It will be interesting to see whether Flip is willing to give extended minutes to LoBrow in his first game with the team. It probably depends on his level of frustration with LaVine.
Our blogging buddies for the night are at CelticsBlog. Be excellent.
No no and no.
Enjoy., Chat. Go.