After beginning the season 5-2, the Timberwolves are in the midst of a 4-game skid as they prepare for Saturday’s matchup in Oakland. Despite getting Kevin Love back this past Wednesday, the Pups fell to both Denver and Portland and will need to gain chemistry as a unit after getting back their top offensive weapon.
Golden State, 7-6, has seen tangible improvement due to a healthy unit led by Stephen Curry and David Lee. The Warriors are still waiting on the debut of Andrew Bogut, who has been hampered with ankle problems over the past few seasons. Adding Bogut to a frontcourt that already consists of Lee, rookie Festus Ezeli, and six-man stud Carl Landry could make Golden State one of the best low post teams in the West.
The Pups recently got both Nikola Pekovic and JJ Barea back from injury, but the team has looked very disoriented in their offensive and defensive sets with the newly healthy roster.
The Timberwolves still anxiously await the return of PG phenom Ricky Rubio, as the platoon at PG including Ridnour, Barea, and Malcolm Lee has proven to be deficient on both sides of the ball. Facing a Golden State backcourt that can really shoot the long-ball, the Wolves will need to bring tremendous intensity on defense in order to slow down sharp-shooters Curry and Klay Thompson.
Rookie Harrison Barnes has come into his own as of late, and previously scored 18 points in their earlier victory over the Wolves merely a week ago. Derrick Williams has received two consecutive DNP-CD since K-Love returned on Wednesday, and his long-term future with the Timberwolves is currently under hot debate. Despite ranking in the top-ten in defensive efficiency, Williams is in Adelman’s doghouse and how he will get back into the rotation remains a mystery.
Here is my prediction for the three stars of the game:
- Kevin Love
- David Lee
- Andrei Kirilenko