Knicks at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
TOWNS vs. PORZINGIS!
MITCHELL vs. RAMBIS!
RICKY RUBIO BOBBLE-HEADS! (Really want one of these. Might have to go on Craig's list or something to try to find one. Even though none of the bobble heads actually look like who they are supposed to be).
It's also the return of Kurt Rambis to Target Center as a head coach, which is quite amazing. I never thought he'd get another head coaching opportunity, even interim, after the debacle he had as Wolves coach. But here he is, leading a Knicks team that recently fired Derek Fisher and installed Rambis for the rest of the season. It hasn't paid dividends, as the Knicks sit in 12th in the East and are on a seven game losing streak.
They are, of course, still led by Carmelo Anthony, who is struggling from the field this year but still averaging 21 a night and capable of scoring in bunches, especially those nights his three point shot is working. It will be interesting to see how Andrew Wiggins handles him if he winds up guarding Anthony, who has a significant advantage in bulk as well as experience. On the other hand, there is no reason why Wigggins shouldn't be able to take advantage of Anthony at the offensive end, where there should be no way for Anthony to match Wiggins' quickness and agility.
Meanwhile, the headliner is Towns vs. Porzingis, the two best rookies in the league this season. Both have far outplayed initial expectations, and Porzingis in particular has been a revelation this early in his NBA career. He's scoring from a variety of spots, competing on the boards, blocking shots, and looking like a future all-star. Towns, meanwhile, appears to have all but salted away the Rookie of the Year award with his spectacular play, which only seems to be getting better as the season progresses.
Their first match up was fun despite the Knicks win. Towns struggled early but came back late to score 25 points and grab 10 boards, while Porzingis was a monster defensively that night, blocking seven shots and helping the Knicks to victory despite poor shooting. I don't know whether Mitchell will put Towns or Dieng on Porzingis to start the game, but it's a tough match up either way.
Unlike the Grizzlies, the Knicks do not force many turnovers, so hopefully that won't be a problem for the Wolves as it was last night. On the other hand, they do a relatively good job limiting opponents looks from three, so that's another Wolves one game trend that might not continue. They also do a pretty good job protecting the rim with Robin Lopez and Porzingis up front. Last night, however, Brook Lopez torched them (including his brother) for 33, so seeing Towns and Dieng go to work in the paint is something I'm looking forward to.
They are not a great rebounding or shooting team, and the Wolves really need to control the glass and get out in transition tonight against a slow paced team.
This is not a great team the Wolves are facing, and if they want to put some wins together in the final third of the season, this is one to get.
The Wolves will once again be without Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Garnett, and Nemanja Bjelica. They could really use another competent player in the front court.
Our blogging buddies are over at Posting and Toasting. Be excellent.
No no no.
Enjoy. Chat. Go.