Wolves at Magic
6:00 pm CST
The Wolves snapped a four game losing streak last night in Miami as RIcky Rubio returned to the lineup and the bench played outstanding basketball. It was a good win for the Wolves who continue to succeed on the road, since the Heat have been playing very good basketball and beat them at Target Center already this season.
Tonight the Wolves head to Orlando to face a very young Magic squad who also sport a 5-6 record. I have watched them several times, and every time I think they look terrific, like a team that is on the verge of ripping off a bunch of wins and becoming relevant in the Eastern Conference. It hasn't all come together for them quite yet, but they have an impressive array of talent and I think it's just a matter of time. They have won four of their last six after losing four of five to start the season.
Unfortunately, two of their key players--starting wings VIctor Oladipo (concussion) and Evan Fournier (illness) are questionable for tonight, which would hurt them significantly, as those two lead them in minutes per game and are two of their top three scorers and assist men. Hopefully they will be able to go, we'll see.
The Magic also rely on Nikola Vucevic, Nikola Pekovic's countryman, to score down low, and he's having a terrific offensive season. My hope is the Wolves got to town last night and Pek and Vujevic went out on the town, but it seems unlikely. Vucevic has been shooting the ball quite well out to about 16 feet this season, so Karl-Anthony Towns will have his hands full on the defensive end.
For the Wolves, Ricky Rubio is once again listed as questionable, but word has it he feels good today and will likely play. That's great news for a team that is now 5-2 with him and 0-4 without him. A win tonight obviously gets the Wolves back to .500 as they head home to face a trio of Eastern Conference teams prior to Thanksgiving.
No official word yet but I'm expecting KG to sit this one out.
The Wolves need to get back on the free throw drawing train, as the Magic tend not to get to the line much and it's an area where the Wolves could have an advantage if their guys are aggressive going to the basket especially early. They also need to do a good job on the boards, as the Magic are a decent offensive rebounding club but not great on the defensive side. That's an area that has really stood out to me as a positive surprise so far this year--the defensive rebounding.
Hopefully the shooting comes around after last night's poor marksmanship, because it's tough to win shooting 37%. Can't expect that every night.
LATE NEWS: Both Fournier and Oladipo are expected to go tonight.
Our blogging buddies are over at Orlando Pinstriped Post, be excellent.
No no no.
Enjoy. Chat. Go.