Wolves vs. Wizards
7:00 pm CST
Minnesota last played Washington on Dec. 16 and came up on the short end of the 109-95 final score. This time, Wolves fans are hoping a different roster will equal a different outcome.
Kevin Garnett's return to Mineesota will be the biggest story in basketball Wednesday night. Although the 38-year old forward previously said he would not uproot his family from Brooklyn during the final years of his career, Garnett made an exception to return to the first city that drafted him. On Feb. 19, he waived the no-trade clause in his contract with the Nets.
"It's perfect," he said in Tuesday's introductory press conference. "If you have a story, this is a fairy tale. This is a perfect ending to it. This is how you want to do it."
Garnett entered the league at 19 years old, drafted by Minnesota the same year that both Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine were born (we'll let you think on that for a minute). During his 12 years with the Wolves, KG led the team to the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history, including an appearance in the Western Conference finals in 2004. That same year, he earned MVP.
During the presser, several journalists caught and tweeted the statement that has since gone viral:
I think the exact quote was... "If LeBron can go home, (expletive deleted) why can't I."— Chris Long (@jclong) February 24, 2015
The official [re-]introduction took place following Garnett's first practice with his former team.
"I was calling the plays-and he already knew all the plays," said Ricky Rubio following practice.
Rubio also told reporters that Garnett had "already yelled at Pek-twice." If this is the case, we have to wonder if Nikola Pekovic will show a little more hustle on defense tonight.
Besides having KG, Minnesota now has Rubio, Pekovic and Kevin Martin back in the lineup-in December, all three were sidelined due to injury. On the other hand, Thad Young and Corey Brewer are no longer with the Wolves. Washington might not even recognize this team from the one they played two months ago.
The 12-43 Timberwolves have won three of their last five home games, and a home win for Garnett's debut game would certainly continue to boost a team morale that is higher this week than it's been all season. The team will have perks of home-court advantage, as the Target Center is expected to be packed and buzzing.
Washington has been struggling as of late, dropping nine of their last 11 games and falling to 33-24 on the season. Last night, the Wizards committed a season-high 26 turnovers against Golden State. Their biggest weakness, however, is a lackluster defense. Over the last three games, they have allowed an average of 115.7 points to their opponents.
John Wall is leading Washington in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting. Wall also ranks No. 1 in the league in assists, averaging 10.1 per game. Rubio is not far behind that-averaging 8.3 assists per night-so Wednesday promises to be a battle of the point guards.
Minnesota will face two former players in Ramon Sessions and Martell Webster. Both are coming off the bench in Washington for just a small chunk of minutes per game.
Bradley Beal, the Wizards' second-leading scorer (15 PPG) will miss his eighth straight game with a leg injury. Paul Pierce also left Tuesday's game after colliding with another player, but he is expected to play.
Minnesota will be without forwards Shabazz Muhammad (broken finger-out for the season) and Anthony Bennett (ankle sprain). Robbie Hummel also remains out. Gary Neal is questionable for tonight.
Please no pics, gifs, links to illegal streams in the game thread.
Let the conversation begin. Welcome home, KG.