Nets at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
There is good and bad that in the NBA, the games come relentlessly. On the one hand, you always have the opportunity to put the last one behind you quickly. On the other, once things start going sideways, it can be tough to overcome that inertia when another opponent is right there ready to keep pushing you.
The Wolves face the Brooklyn Nets tonight at home, almost certainly again without Karl-Anthony Towns, and possibly without Andrew Wiggins. The Nets are dealing with their own injury problems, most notably missing Kyrie Irving, and will also be without Caris LeVert.
The Nets come in 16-15, still in a playoff position in the East, but probably a bit of a disappointment to their fans, who were hoping for another step forward for a team that has been building slowly and then struck over the summer to add two stars in Irving and Kevin Durant, who won’t play this season as he recovers from an achilles injury.
Broadly they have some similar offensive problems to the Wolves: They take a lot of threes (6th in the league in attempts per game) but do not shoot them well (28th at 33.2 percent.)
They are, however, a much better defensive team, with a center tandem of Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan that do a good job of protecting the rim. They are in the top five in the league in both opponent attempts at the rim, and opponent shooting percentage at the rim. Overall they give up the third lowest eFG percentage in the league.
Spencer Dinwiddie has stepped into the starting lineup in place of Irving, and is having his best season despite not shooting threes well. He’s getting into the paint and to the free throw line effectively, and averaging a career high 22.5 points per game. Joe Harris remains their big three point threat and is having another terrific season shooting it at 43 percent on over six attempts per game. Beyond those two, however, they lack consistent offensive threats, and have struggled at that end of the floor.
The Wolves...well, I don’t know what to say at this point. They’ve cratered. The Towns injury has obviously been a big part of it, but even before his absence things were heading south in a big hurry. The defense has stabilized a bit, mostly thanks to increased playing time for Gorgui Dieng, but the offense has continued to struggle as Ryan Saunders runs guys out there who simply cannot score with any consistency.
With games against the Warriors, Cavs, and Grizzlies coming after a trip to Milwaukee, the Wolves really need to string something together and halt that sideways movement. Getting a rare home win tonight would help.
NOTE: Tonight is the last game of calendar year 2019. The Wolves have gone 30-46.
Our blogging buddies are over at Nets Daily. Be excellent.