With the first week of NBA games in the books, the Wolves finished out their first stretch of games with a hard-fought 2-1 record. The games against the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, and Oklahoma City Thunder were tough matches against playoff level competition.
The Wolves should be pleased they were able to hold onto two victories, particularly considering that two of the three games were on the road. The team certainly could have lost all three of these games, as the fourth quarters have required some heroics from first Jamal Crawford and now Andrew Wiggins in order to win the games, but there is plenty to celebrate about a team that is learning to play together on the fly.
This week, the schedule becomes a little easier, at least for the first two games. The Wolves will play two of their next three games at home, with two of the games coming against part of the Eastern Conference morass and then a rematch against the Thunder.
Tuesday - Hosting the Pacers
The Indiana Pacers thus far are 1-2, with the lone win coming against the Brooklyn Nets to start out the season. Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo are leading the show now that Paul George is in Oklahoma City and the team is in full-on rebuilding mode. This is the first game of the season where the Wolves are playing a team that they should beat and the talent level difference will be dramatic between the two teams. Turner is certainly a rising prospect, but he is now the star of the show in Indiana.
One thing to watch out for, the Pacers are currently playing at the 7th fastest speed in the league. The Wolves are 20th.
Wednesday - At Detroit against the Pistons
The Pistons are, as of today, currently 2-1 just like the Wolves, although their wins have come against slightly lesser competition of the Charlotte Hornets and the New York Knicks. However, the Pistons did keep it quite close against the Wizards, losing 115-111 in their sole loss of the season.
Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will provide another test for the Wolves’ interior defense and ability to contain pick-and-rolls. Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams seemed to do whatever they pleased in the recent match-up, but hopefully as the season goes on the Wolves defense will coalesce and become more suited to handle these challenges.
Tobias Harris has been absolutely on fire thus far, scoring 24.3 points per game on 56 percent shooting from the field and 47 percent from beyond the arc. It will be interesting to see how the Wolves match-up in this game and if Thibs decides to latch Butler onto Reggie Jackson similarly to how the Wolves played the Thunder.
Friday - Rematch vs the Thunder
If this game is anything like the previous one, then we are in for a treat. Last night’s game was back and forth throughout, although the Wolves were leading for most of the time. The Thunder, similarly to the Wolves, are slowly figuring out how all their pieces fit together. The further into the season we go, the better these teams will be.
This game will be at home for the Wolves and is sure to be an exciting one.
Prediction - The Wolves should finish 2-1 again this week. It seems fair to expect the Wolves to beat the Pacer and if we can split the Pistons and Thunder game, the Wolves will have gone 4-2 over the opening two weeks of the season.
That would be a great place to be.