Setting the stage:
Oh what could have been with Mr. Beasley and Mr. Johnson on the Timberwolves, right folks? (Crickets)
The Timberwolves travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns Tuesday night for the second time this season. Back on 12/29, the Wolves handed the Suns a 111-107 loss, with the former Pups doing virtually nothing on their return the Target Center. Beasley shot a woeful 1-8 from the field in 10 minutes and Johnson received another DNP-CD.
Since taking over for Alvin Gentry, it looks like Lindsey Hunter has come to realize just how bad these two players are. Hunter took over on January 18th and has given both players a few opportunities to play heavier minutes. In Phoenix’s most recent games, both players have been given limited opportunity to see the floor.
The Suns come into the game losers of three straight, which has dropped their season record to 18-39. If this game were being played in April, we would be talking about who is tanking more unfortunately. The Wolves come into Tuesday’s game off of a gut-wrenching loss to the Warriors on Sunday afternoon. The Pups had every opportunity to win the game but found a way to lose, 100-99, with Luke Ridnour missing a floating jumper around the rim as the buzzer sounded. That loss put the team at 1-2 since the All Star break and dropped their record to 20-33 on the season. Despite the loss, the optimist in me would like to point out the overall performances of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams. While both failed to make one or two plays down the stretch (and they were crucial) the duo put together very solid performances and are the main reasons worth tracking how or what the Wolves do the rest of the way this season.
Player to watch:
Jared Dudley – Timberwolves fans have been eyeing up Dudley for some time now, as a player that would be a great cog in the machine here in Minnesota. While Jared has been inconsistent in February, Timberwolves fans might want to brace themselves for a breakout performance. Dudley put up an 18 point, 8 rebound, 5 assist game back in late December and we should probably expect more of the same, given the lack of size the Wolves have to match up against Jared on the defensive end.
Match-up to watch:
Nikola Pekovic vs. Marcin Gortat. The big men in the paint are the premiere match-up for the evening, as both men are quite the load in the paint. Pekovic dominated the earlier meeting, putting up a 28 & 11 performance, and holding Gortat to 9 & 3. Pekovic has had a nice month of February if you throw out the performance this past Friday night in OKC. Even with that clunker, he’s averaged 15.8 ppg and 9.5 rpg over the course of the month.
Nothing excites me about this Suns team and I almost wish that I wasn’t responsible for covering this game. OK, I do wish that actually. Given the way the Wolves have been playing since the break, and even though it isn’t producing wins, I expect them to pull this one out on the road.
Final score prediction: Twolves 106, Suns 99
Three stars of the game predictions:
- Ricky Rubio
- Derrick Williams
- Jared Dudley
Let’s go Wolves!