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Timberwolves at Nuggets Game #22

The Wolves are on the road for their next two, tonight in Denver to face the Nuggets.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves at Nuggets
8:00 pm CST
FS North

The Wolves make their second trip to Denver this season after beating them handily in the first meeting which was the 2nd game of the year. The story in that game was Karl-Anthony Towns dominating proceedings in only his 2nd game, finishing with 28 points, 14 boards, and 4 blocked shots while the Wolves held the Nuggets to 30% from the field and got to the free throw line 41 times.

The Nuggets are currently 8-14 on the season, having gone through an eight game losing streak they broke with close wins over the Raptors and Sixers on the road before losing their last game at home to Orlando on Tuesday.

The Nuggets have struggled in all areas, sitting 25th in defensive rating and 27th in offensive rating. They are a poor shooting team and also give up too many easy baskets, a combination Wolves fans are well familiar with and know leads nowhere good.

One of their problems is also familiar: Giving a lot of minutes to sub-replacement level players. They are committed to playing Emmanuel Mudiay 30 minutes a night at point guard (2nd overall in minutes to Danilo Gallinari), and while that might payoff eventually, right now he is killing their chances to win. He cannot shoot the ball, has the highest turnover rate on the team, and yet carries the highest usage (27%). That combination is not helping at the moment. Unfortunately, their primary back up, Jameer Nelson, is having a similarly disastrous campaign, and he's 4th on the team in minutes, as is old friend Randy Foye (6th).

On the bright side, Gallinari has returned and appears reasonably healthy, is making some threes and getting the line a lot. Further, they have a couple of youngish players who appear to be emerging as useful pieces in last year's draft pick Gary Harris and Canis Hoopus favorite Will Barton, who has been on a tear lately.

Arguably their most intriguing and important player going forward is 20 year old center Nikola Jokic. Though he's looked quite good for a rookie, his minutes have been limited to under 20 a game. While I can understand not overwhelming him, those minutes are going to the likes of Darrell Arthur and J.J. Hickson, so...yeah.

The Wolves next three are against relative peers in the Western Conference. They play in Phoenix after this one, then return home to face this same Nuggets team at Target Center. It will be interesting to see how they match up with teams that currently sport similar records.

For the Wolves, they had a rough 1-3 home stand that was salvaged only with an overtime win against the Lakers on Wednesday. Karl-Anthony Towns seems to have found his groove again and played very well at home, and hopefully he can dominate the Nuggets like he did in the first match up. Andrew Wiggins has been off his game recently, and in fact has been one of the obvious culprits/heroes of the home/road discrepancy for the Wolves. He's been much, much better on the road this season, presumably a matter of variance, but he needs to get things going again for the Wolves to win.

Also, watch: A day after I wrote at length about how limited Muhammad's minutes have been, Mitchell will probably play him 30.

Latest word is that Kevin Martin is good to go after hurting his wrist in that monster 37 point night against the Lakers.

Expected lineups


Emmanuel Mudiay
Randy Foye
Danilo Gallinari
Kenneth Faried
J.J. Hickson


Ricky Rubio
Kevin Martin
Andrew Wiggins
Kevin Garnett
Karl-Anthony Towns

Our blogging buddies for the evening are over at Denver Stiffs, be excellent.

No no and no.

Enjoy. Chat. Go.