Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat

Lebron & D-Wade

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell – US Presswire

The Timberwolves fell asleep last night in the second half in Orlando and ended their four game win streak.  The reward for this is having to play again Tuesday night in Miami against the NBA champions from last season.  Now for the really bad news; the team is going to likely play tonight’s game without Ricky Rubio.  The Wolves staff is trying to limit his minutes this early in his return and is looking to sit him down in back to back games.  After struggling in last night’s game in Orlando, it might be a good idea to continue this plan of attack with Ricky.

It seems like the one force that can stop the Heat are in fact, the Heat.  Perhaps they will take a mental health day and the Wolves can steal a victory.  Perhaps they won’t.  Either way, this should be an entertaining game to watch.  The Heat are 15-6 on the season, including 11-2 at American Airlines Arena.  They are 4th in the league in scoring at 103.1 ppg.  If Tuesday’s opponent has a flaw, it is in their rebounding and lack of a big man / bruiser in the paint.  The Heat have moved Lebron over to the PF spot and Bosh to Center this season, given their lack of talented big men.  That said, we’re talking about the greatest player on the planet right now and he’s still playing with two guys that are in the top thirty in the league.

Player to watch:

Alexey Shved – The rookie has been seeing extensive minutes over the past few weeks and was performing at a high level prior to last night’s stinker (1-8 from the field for 3 points, 5 assists, and 4 turnovers).  He has moved up to 5th place among rookies in scoring (10.6) and 2nd in assists (4.0).  Why is he the player to watch?  It will be interesting to see how he fares against Wade, Allen, and/or Chalmers.

Match-up to watch:

Nikola Pekovic vs. Chris Bosh.  Without Rubio (or a severely limited Rubio) the only way the Pups can pull this one off is if Pekovic can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor and get Bosh in foul trouble.  This is absolutely feasible but still wouldn’t guarantee a win.  Pekovic missed last season’s sole matchup against the Heat, which likely aided in Bosh’s 20-9-4 performance.

Predictions:

Sorry Pups fans, I can’t see how the team pulls off the upset without a fully healthy roster.

Final score prediction: Twolves 98, Heat 105

Three stars of the game predictions:

  1. Dwayne Wade
  2. Andrei Kirilenko
  3. LeBron James

Let’s go Wolves!