Setting the stage
The T’wolves come into Wednesday’s game with a little bit of momentum, having won their last two games, including last night’s blowout in Philadelphia. The ease of last night’s win allowed Coach Adelman to limit the amount of minutes Kevin Love and other starters had to endure and potentially leaves them with a bit more bounce in their step for tonight’s match-up in Boston.
Minnesota continues to play very strong team defense and is currently ranked fourth in the league in points allowed per game (92.3). The team showed some life last night on the offensive end finally, putting up 105 points – which included 65 by halftime from the regular rotation. Hopefully, some of that performance carries over to the TD Garden this evening; most specifically the performance the team received from Josh Howard last night (16 & 10) as he will match-up with Pierce on the floor given Andrei Kirilenko’s continued absence.
The bad news for the Pups is that Rajon Rondo returns from his two game suspension and is “probably” ready to get back into the action. As their record suggests (9-8), the Celtics have been pretty average so far this season. They come into the game 15th in the league in scoring at 97.5 ppg. Somewhat surprisingly, the team is playing average to below average defense, allowing 97.9 ppg which is good for 17th in the league. An area we can expect the Twolves to exploit tonight against the Celtics is on the boards, as our opponent comes in dead last in the league at 37.4 rpg.
I’ve gone far enough without mentioning that this is one of two times each season that the Twolves and their fans get to see KG up close and in direct competition with his former team. I don’t think we need to go down the accolades. In fact, I’m a little perturbed to the fact that when you now search for Kevin Garnett on Google Images, the first three pages has him wearing a Celtics uniform. It will be good to see KG on the floor playing his former team once again and maybe we’ll get to see/hear a profanity laced tirade directed at one of the current Pups (Stiemsma is the odds on favorite here, right?).
Player to watch
Rajon Rondo – As mentioned earlier, Rondo is probably chomping at the bit to get back onto the court following his suspension. What better way for a speedy PG to get readjusted than to face one of the weaker defensive teams in the league at PG. Ridnour will likely get the start, but you can see how and why it makes sense to see JJ Barea playing extended minutes tonight to try and contain Rondo. Rajon leads the league in assists per game with a 12.9 average, while also averaging the same in points.
Match-up to watch
Love vs. KG. While KG has been playing Center for the Celtics, I can’t imagine that Doc Rivers will have him guarding Pekovic when Brandon Bass is on the floor with him. The past superstar vs. the present. Love comes into the game dominating the boards since his return (14.6 rpg), while KG is only averaging 7.4 rpg. To be fair, Doc Rivers is limiting KG’s minutes as best he can early on this season, playing him under 30 mpg. It will be interesting to see these two match-up again and who will come out on top.
We’ll see if the Twolves can win back to back games on the East coast. This will be a tough test however, as the Celtics come into the game with a few days rest having not played since this past Saturday.
Final score prediction: Boston 91, ‘Sota 86
Three stars of the game predictions:
- Rajon Rondo
- Kevin Love
- Paul Pierce
Let’s go Wolves!