By: Dan Slaubaugh
Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. The Wolves are currently in the sunshine state, probably enjoying the incredible weather before they have to pull out the winter coats for the harsh winter that will eventually take place.
Minnesota (4-6) is coming off 4 straight losses, in which 3 of them came without starting point guard Ricky Rubio. However, there have been some bright spots in those losses. Zach Lavine has started to get comfortable, averaging 21 ppg, 4rpg, 4apg, and less than 4 turnovers throughout the last 4 games. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns have continued to shine, which is awesome. On the other side, Miami (6-3) is coming off 3 straight victories, all at home, and currently sit at the 4 spot in the Eastern Conference. Here's what you need to know for tonight's game.
What: Wolves @ Heat
Where: American Airlines Arena. Miami, Florida
When: 6:30pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Mismatches everywhere: If there's one team that Minnesota doesn't match up well with, it's the Heat, and it showed in their loss just last week. Whiteside gives Towns fits down low with his shot blocking ability. Dragic matches Ricky's energy (not many people do) and seems to kill the Wolves every time out. Wade and Deng are much to strong for Minnesota's wings giving them the ability to get where they would like on the court. It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments the Wolves make from last time around.
Lavine improving: For as much grief the coaching staff gets by playing Zach at the 1, the stats say he's improving. Over the past 5 games, he's averaged only 2.8 turnovers a game while averaging 19.4ppg, 4.4apg, and 3.8rpg. His stroke is coming along as well, as he's shooting over 48% from the field (47% beyond the arc), again, over the past 5 games. Is it sustainable? We will see.
Wheeere's Ricky? It stinks having your most important player out , especially when he is THE factor on how competitive the team is. That's what Wolves fans feel like in regards to Ricky Rubio. We can say all we want about him being so great and valuable to this team, but after all, if he's not on the court, the value isn't there. Maybe I'm overreacting, as (from what I hear) these injuries seem to linger with other little injuries popping up along the way. Lets just hope Ricky's hamstring is feeling better tonight so he can return to the court.
Points: Andrew Wiggins (20.6)
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns (10.2)
Assists: Ricky Rubio (9)
Steals: Ricky Rubio (2.3)
Blocks: Karl-Anthony Towns (2)
Points: Chris Bosh (19)
Rebounds: Hassan Whiteside (11.7)
Assists: Dwayne Wade (4.4)
Steals: Wade-Dieng (1)
Blocks: Hassan Whiteside (4)
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Dwayne Wade
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Chris Bosh
C: Hassan Whiteside
Questionable: Ricky Rubio (hamstring)
OUT: Nikola Pekovic (still recovering from surgery on right achilles)
OUT: Amare Stoudemire (knee)
OUT: Not an injury, but Gerald Green is out due to suspension.
Well, that's all I have for this one. Enjoy the game tonight. It should be a good challenge for the Wolves, who are currently 10th in the Western Conference standings and are looking to snap out of their 4 game losing streak.