Ahhh to be a Timberwolves fan. Despite a long stretch of difficult years, the Wolves are finally on their way out of the slums. They've got (arguably) the best big man in the NBA, an impressive pass-first point guard, a promising rookie and a collection of surprisingly effective role players filling out the roster. Believe it or not, David Kahn has assembled a real basketball team-- and if they win tonight, they'll be just two games behind .500 basketball.
It feels almost like the Wolves and Pistons are passing each other on the highway of NBA relevance. They're on to greener pastures, while Detroit is driving in a darker direction with no exit in sight. Eastbound and down, my friends...
Game Tips at 8:00 P.M. EST
Detroit Pistons: 3 - 11 (1 - 6 road)
Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 - 8 (3 - 5 home)
The entertainment tonight will be the match-up between Kevin Love and Greg Monroe. Both players can fill up the scoring column and neither is much of a defender (Monroe is improving, but he's no Ekpe Udoh, you guys). How these players score on each other won't be the interesting part-- it'll be the wrestling match for loose rebounds. One of the league's great rebounders takes on the league's best tonight, so fans of the discipline are in for a treat. What's more, since both teams hit less than 43% of their shots, there is bound to be a lot of rebounds in twin town.
Beyond Kevin Love, the rest of Minny's scoring is pretty balanced. Michael Beasley, Luke Ridnour, JJ Barea and Richard Rubio (not calling you Ricky, dude, you're a grown ass man) all present between 11 and 13 points a game. The interesting thing is that three of these guys are point guards. If you're reading along, Rodney Stuckey, you can earn some of your $8M payday tonight by showing us some of that perimeter D you're known for.
While Minny may be on their way to better times, they're not there yet. This is a winnable game for Detroit, and the same may not be said in the years to come.
Keys to the Game:
Perimeter Defense - No matter what you do, the big fella in Minneapolis is going to get his. What you can control is how the guards perform. The bulk of Minny's scoring comes from its trio of point guards, and defending them could turn the tide for the Pistons. Emphasize perimeter D tonight, L Frank.
Watch the Whistles - Kevin Love is shooting poorly for a big man this season, connecting on only 44% of his shots (which is surprising given his proximity to the basket). It's the 10 free throw attempts he's averaging per game that is helping him approach 30 ppg scoring. The Piston's one man frontcourt will need to be careful tonight, because foul trouble will certainly doom Detroit's chances of a win.
Feed the Moose - All day errah day.
Question of the Game:
What do you think Joe Dumars ate for dinner tonight?