Wolves (6-17) vs Warriors (20-4)
6:00 CST, Target Center
Tonight, the Wolves play against a team that has one of the greatest collections of talent to ever grace the floor of an NBA court.
In the two previous seasons, all the Warriors had done was go 1-1 in the NBA finals against the greatest player of our generation, LeBron James, break numerous threepoint shooting records, take the Suns’ blueprint for offensive success and dial the game plan up to 11, re-define how rosters are constructed with the “line-up of death”, have their best player win the MVP award twice, and set a new record for wins in a season with 73.
Then added some guy to their team named Kevin Durant in free agency.
The Timberwolves, as we are all too aware, are struggling of late, as they have not been able to live up to the expectations that were built up coming into the season. The defense, in particular, has been abysmal in the last few games and tonight is not going to help that issue, as the Warriors are currently averaging a ridiculous 118.1 points per game, which is almost a full 7 points higher than the second-best offense in the league.
Transition defense will be extraordinarily important this game for the Wolves, as they have one of the worst transition defenses in the league and the Warriors absolutely feast on lackadaisical transition defense.
That is not to say that the Warriors are not vulnerable. With the addition of Kevin Durant, they lost several key role players, such as our own Brandon Rush, and their defense and rim protection numbers have cratered due to the loss of Andrew Bogut. Tonight, they will likely have more trouble than usual as their current starting Center, Zaza Pachulia, is questionable to play tonight and he did not play in the previous game. If Zaza doesn’t play, then Anderson Varajeo should get the start.
Last year, the Wolves were able to actually play the Warriors pretty well in both their match-ups, which includes perhaps the best win of our season last year when the Wolves beat the Warriors in overtime at the Oracle Arena. In that game, we saw the future potential of our team realized, as Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns put up dominant performances.
The Warriors got waxed last night by the Memphis Grizzlies, as the Warriors had an all-around terrible performance, especially from their starters in the first half where the Grizzlies outscored the Warriors 61-38. This is probably not good for the Timberwolves, as the team could have tried to steal a win from the Warriors as they come here at the tail end of the dreaded road back-to-back games, but instead the Warriors will likely be fired up and rather motivated to not let their losing streak fall past one.
But that’s why we play the games. Hopefully, the Wolves find a little fire in their belly won’t roll over to the better team tonight. They have done it before.
Expected Starting Lineups