UPDATE: The Denver Nuggets were defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier tonight, 104-89. It was for the second time THIS WEEK. (UPDATE: Friday April 8th, 11:10p.m.)
UPDATE: Both Kevin Love and Darko Milicic will travel with the Wolves on this 2-game road trip, however both are listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game in Denver, furthermore neither player practiced today. Kevin Love said after sitting out practice, that if he doesn’t play tomorrow night, then he’ll most likely shut it down for the season. (UPDATE: Friday April 8th 2011, 2:11p.m.)
Saturday night the Minnesota Timberwolves will square off at the Pepsi Center with their division rivals the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets. This will be the first-time the Wolves will get a chance to play the new-look Denver Nuggets since that blockbuster Carmelo Anthony deal.
The Timberwolves are currently skidding on a 12-game losing streak and are the NBAs worst team as the Cavaliers sit a 0.5 above them. Wolves: 17-62, Cavaliers: 17-61. The Timberwolves continue to face the NBAs elite teams and without K-Love, it makes it all the harder to compete. After the Nuggets game, they have two more: @Phoenix on April 11th and their last game, back at the Target Center vs. the Houston Rockets on April 13th. The Cavaliers on the other hand will face the Bulls, the Bucks and finish out the season against two beatable teams: the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons. If the Wolves maintain the worst record in the NBA, they’ll have the best mathematical chance at the #1 pick (25% chance).
The Nuggets on the other hand are playoff-bound as they currently hold the 5th seed in the bracket and will be looking to add to their win total as they currently sit at 48-30. As of right now, by the current standings, the Nuggets will be facing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.
The Timberwolves are coming off a loss Wednesday night to the Phoenix Suns as they were defeated 108-98 at the Target Center. They were without All-Star Kevin Love, still dealing with a groin injury. Also, Darko Milicic had originally injured his ankle in the game against Miami, but re-injured it 10 minutes into the game Wednesday night, no word yet on whether he’ll be able to play.
The Nuggets are playing the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, in what could be a preview to their playoff matchup. Tipoff for that one is set for 7pmCT.
The key players for Minnesota will be: Michael Beasley-with Kevin Love, most likely out he’ll need to continue his solid play, but he’s also got to remember to get his teammates involved, to often he tries to put them on his back and doesn’t trust his team, one of the many problems for these Young Wolves this season. Wesley Johnson-we know he’s got it in him to be a solid offensive contributor, but since his 29-point eruption against the Lakers, he’s faded and isn’t helping them out at all on the scoreboard. THE BENCH-they’ve been solid lately, headlined by Martell Webster, Anthony Tolliver and Anthony Randolph, these guys are good enough to combine for 50pts a game off the pine. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are all well into the double-digits by the end of the night.
The key players for Denver will be: Wilson Chandler: Chandler has been one of my favorite players this season, he’s really improved his game and is a threat on both ends, he is their sixth man, but he’ll see plenty of time against the Wolves’ forwards. DEN’s PGs Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton: These are two young and quite talented point guards that split time as the floor general, Ridnour and Flynn need to step up their game to deal with these two. Nene-with Darko possibly out, Pekovic will be matched up against Nene, in what should be a very physical and fun matchup to watch, Nene’s a beast on the block and is tops in field goal percentage in the NBA.
Tipoff is set for 8:30pmCT from the Pepsi Center Saturday night. A full-gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading, enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!