As January comes to a close, the Wolves will hope to continue their improved basketball of late. The month started out poorly as the Wolves fell farther away from the team that we saw earlier in the year, but the last few games have shown a team with improved ball movement and spacing.
While this year has not gone as expected, due primarily to the strong opening stretch of .500 play from the team followed by the sharp regression, it's likely the Wolves will fall somewhere between the middle of those playing levels throughout the rest of the year. We have already seen this less variable path in the last 6 games or so as the Wolves have played better basketball and grabbed a couple of wins along the way.
Tonight the Timberwolves will play at Cleveland as the Cavaliers will try to rebound after their loss to the Chicago Bulls. It's hard to call a team a mess when they are leading their conference, but suddenly (or not so suddenly depending on the report you read) firing your coach along with smear campaigns flying in every direction will do that. There have been several reports on both sides and this video from the reputable Basketball Breakdown Youtube channel highlights some of the more conspiracy-minded aspects that show up on the court. I also love the background music of the video as it sounds like it comes from a Bigfoot or UFO sightings History Channel show.
The new coach of the Cavs, Tyron Lue, has been open about his upcoming changes to the team and he is trying to get the Cavs to play faster, they currently rank 25th in pace, as well as incorporate improved ball movement. He has also publicly decreed he will be calling out his stars if they aren't playing hard enough, opposed to Blatt's supposed fear of conflict with primarily LeBron James, and he has already done so after the loss to the Bulls.
Andrew Wiggins always saves his best games for these match-ups against Cleveland, so we will likely see another high scoring outburst from him tonight.
The game tips of at 6 PM CST.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Shabazz Muhammad, Tayshaun Prince, and KG were catching the NFL games together last night. They took a fun picture of mentorship at work. Picture Here
Notes from Around the League
The other televised game tonight after the Timberwolves Cavaliers match-up is the marquee game of the week. The Warriors and the Spurs will square off for the first time all year, tipping off at 9:30 CST. Tim Duncan has already been ruled out for the game due to knee soreness and Popovich has said that he will likely be the only irregular DNP unless "somebody gets lost tonight". These teams are both historically great and it will be an exciting matchup regardless of the fact that Duncan will not be playing.
The Raptors have been on a run of late, having now won 8 games in a row. The Raptors sit 2 games behind the Cavaliers and if the Cavaliers' turmoil continues the Raptors will have a decent shot of overtaking the 1 seed if they continue their stellar play.
This Week in... Things That are Great!
As I was snowed in this weekend in Baltimore, it gave me a chance to watch Sicario. The movie came out last year but has recently been released for DVD and digital download. The film is headlined by Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benecio Del Toro and covers some of the ambiguous territory in the fight against Mexican Cartels and their influence within the US.
The score and direction of the movie create an incredibly tense atmosphere that holds throughout. While the plot wavers here and there, the performances (especially from Del Toro) and this constant sense of dread make the viewing a worthwhile experience. For the film buffs, the cinematographer for Sicario is Roger Deakins, who has previously been nominated for 13 Oscars for his work. Sicario has also garnered another nomination in the category for him.