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Nets at Timberwolves: Game #63

Two teams in the bottom echelon meet tonight at Target Center. Ping Pong balls are at stake!

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Nets at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North

Both the Nets and Wolves will be playing the second night of back to backs tonight, though their experiences last night were much different. The Nets were in Denver where they beat the Nuggets in overtime, 121-120 thanks to a strong performance from several guys off the bench and great three point shooting (13-22). The Wolves on the other hand played a mostly miserable game in Milwaukee, going down big to the Bucks before a cosmetic comeback from their bench that got them within seven before eventually losing 116-101.

Tonight's game has something for everyone: those of us who prefer to see wins have a chance to get one against a bad Nets team that recently released Joe Johnson and is currently starting a back court of Donald Sloan and old friend Wayne Ellington. For those whose attention turns to Ping Pong balls at this time of year, this is a key match up. The Wolves currently have the 5th worst record in the league, with the Nets holding the 4th spot but now only one game behind (ahead?) of the Wolves. A Nets win tonight would leave the teams tied for the 4th spot. This is of course meaningless for the Nets, whose pick is owned by the Celtics, so they have no incentive not to try.

And thus begins another last-20-game-run-in for the Wolves, who once again have long since bid goodbye to any chance at the post-season. This will mark the 12th year in a row that the Wolves have failed to make the playoffs.

The Nets are bad. Bad on offense (27th) and equally bad on defense (also 27th). Offensively they are led by the reasonably competent duo of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, both of whom shoot better than 50% on the season and combine for 35 points a night, but in the back court, in the injury absence of Jarrett Jack and the waiving of Joe Johnson, they are reduced the relying on the likes of Sloan, Ellington, Markel Brown, and Shane Larkin. Despite last night's surprise, their only real threats from beyond the arc are Ellington and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Defensively they allow the 2nd highest efg% in the league, allowing opponents to get open looks both inside and outside the arc, and are not a great rebounding team. It should be a good match up at least offensively for the Wolves front line, as the Nets don't have anyone likely to be able to stop Karl-Anthony Towns, and Gorgui Dieng should have the size mis-match on Thad Young. That was certainly true in the first meeting between these teams, a 100-85 Wolves win in December in which Towns scored 24 and Dieng came off the bench for 20.

All in all, a loss to a Nets team that went to overtime in Denver last night would not be a good look for this squad, but I never put anything past them.

LATE NOTE: Nets resting Thad Young and Brook Lopez tonight. Yikes.

Expected lineups


Donald Sloan
Wayne Ellington
Bojan Bogdanovic
Thaddeus Young Thomas Robinson
Brook Lopez Willie Reed


Ricky Rubio
Zach LaVine
Andrew Wiggins
Gorgui Dieng
Karl-Anthony Towns

Our blogging buddies are over at NetsDaily. Be excellent.