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Game Preview #10: Wolves vs Rockets

Can this struggling Wolves teams find their footing against Houston and get a much needed win?

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

What to Watch For

The league-worst 1-8 Houston Rockets roll into Minneapolis tonight to take on the underwhelming 4-5 Minnesota Timberwolves squad. It is time for this Wolves squad to take a game by the throat and provide some confidence for the fanbase. There is no better team to do that against than the Rockets.

The Timberwolves are on a 3 game losing skid, but they also find themselves in the midst of a 9 game streak of uninspired play. The questions about if this two-big “experiment” will work are starting to grow even louder.

Unfortunately, the Wolves can’t provide much to help ease those concerns against the lowly Houston team, as Minnesota will be without Rudy Gobert who entered the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols early this afternoon.

Will Another Energetic Team Give Minnesota Fits?

The Wolves have struggled to find consistent energy and effort this season. That has been the root of the problem thus far. Teams like Oklahoma City and San Antonio have showed that playing hard can be a recipe for success against Minnesota. This Rockets team has a ton of high-energy players like Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Kenyon Martin Jr., Daishen Nix, and Tari Eason.

While that group of players is undoubtedly miles behind the Timberwolves in the skill department, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them come of out Minneapolis with a win simply because they play hard. The Timberwolves need to find a way to stop that from happening and it begins with bringing effort of their own.

Can D’Angelo Russell Finally Get It Going?

Fans from all across Timberwolves-land have began to call for Russell’s head. Too often this season he has been a ball-stopper to the flow of the offense and a licensed bricklayer when it comes to scoring. Will tonight be the night that Russell flips a switch and becomes a ball-mover and an effective shot maker? Will playing without Gobert force him to get rid of the ball rather than rely on Gobert’s screening?

Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

If the Wolves want to be a successful team this year, they need Russell to play much better. For someone in a contract year, it is time for him to play like it.

How will the Big Man Rotation Change?

With no Gobert in the starting lineup, it will be interesting to see how Chris Finch chooses to utilize his big men. Will he go with Naz Reid in the starting unit to maintain the two-big lineup? Will he use Kyle Anderson as the fifth starter? Or does he go in a completely other direction?

We don’t know exactly how much time Gobert will miss, but the Wolves are down a lot of talent without him on the floor. If they want to win some games in a tough upcoming stretch over the next week, they’d better hope that they find the right fit to fill in his place for the time being.

Injury Report



  • Luka Garza - Two-Way Contract
  • Rudy Gobert - Health and Safety Protocols
  • Josh Minott - G League Assignment
  • Wendell Moore Jr. - G League Assignment



  • Jabari Smith - Illness
  • Jae’Sean Tate - Ankle
  • Bruno Fernando - Left Patellar Tendinitis
  • TyTy Washington - Knee