The Timberwolves will complete the latter portion of their back-to-back Monday night in Cleveland after Sunday’s loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis. Earlier this season, the Wolves took care of the Cavs rather easily on the Target Center floor. Kyrie Irving missed the first match-up so this will be the first opportunity for Wolves fans to see last season’s Rookie of the Year against their hometown favorite. Kyrie is having a whale of a season since returning from his injury, averaging 24 points and 5.5 assists per game.
The Cavs come into Monday’s match-up with a 16-35 record, dropping their last game on Saturday night at home against the Nuggets. Prior to Saturday’s loss the team had won three in a row, including a victory on 2/2 against the OKC Thunder.
As discussed ad nauseum at this point, the Wolves are in the midst of a long stretch of bad basketball going into the All Star weekend. The team desperately needs the break to get here quickly in an effort to recharge the battery a bit. Similar to the past few games, the team will be without Andrei Kirilenko against the Cavs. After JJ Barea skipped Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies, it will be interesting to see if he tries to give it a go on Monday night.
Player to watch:
Dion Waiters – Similar to Irving, the rookie missed this season’s earlier match-up against the Wolves. Waiters is out of Syracuse, which of course is the bane of current Wolves’ fans existence given the utter failure of their own, recent draft picks (Flynn and Johnson). Naturally, Waiters is performing much better than those two and is having a solid rookie season, averaging 14 ppg. The match-up against Ridnour and Shved should lead to big night from Waiters.
Match-up to watch:
Ricky Rubio vs. Kyrie Irving. There wasn’t any doubt here, was there? Monday night affords us another opportunity to watch two, young PG’s that are likely to be a main part of the NBA’s marketing plans for the next decade. As mentioned earlier, Kyrie has been phenomenal this year for the Cavs. At the same time, Rubio has turned the corner in the past week or two and is looking like him old self. This should be a tremendous match-up to watch.
Without Kirilenko again and coming off of a game Sunday night, I expect the Wolves to look flat.
Final score prediction: Twolves 86, Cavs 94
Three stars of the game predictions:
- Kyrie Irving
- Ricky Rubio
- Dion Waiters
Let’s go Wolves!