By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy Wednesday, Wolves fans.
Kristaps Porzingis and the 8-9 New York Knickerbockers visit Target Center tonight for a matchup against the massively disappointing Wolves. This will be the first matchup of a back-to-back against New York, as Minnesota visits Madison Square Garden on Friday.
Russell Westbrook and the Thunder were too much for the Knicks on Monday, dealing a 112-103 defeat on the road at MSG. Thus far, the Knicks have been the team we'd thought they'd be, turning in some impressive wins and some demoralizing losses.
Regarding Minnesota, they are also coming off of a 112-103 loss, but to the Utah Jazz. Their roster depth and second-half play remains a concern, although they are improving in the latter area. Karl-Anthony Towns is a bit emotionally fragile right now, and Tom Thibodeau's patience for Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn seems to be running out.
The Wolves look to take the first game (visit MSG on Fri.) of a back-to-back against New York tonight.
What: Wolves - Knicks
Where: Target Center - Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:00pm CT
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for:
KAT-Porzingis: This is always a fun matchup to keep an eye on. Towns is currently trying to find himself this season, underperforming expectations to this point. The young Wolf is averaging 21 points (48% FG) and 9.5 rebounds, but has came up short when Minnesota has most needed him. Porzingis, meanwhile, has taken a nice jump from his freshman year, averaging 20.9 points (49% FG) and 7.1 rebounds per game. This matchup should be a lot of fun.
Rebounding: Through 17 games, the Knicks are one of the league's best rebounding teams totaling 45.2 rebounds per game (7th in NBA). The Wolves, on the other hand, are one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams averaging 41.9 rebounds per game (28th in NBA). Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns have been doing an okay job boxing out thus far, but will need to be much better. Cutting down on defensive lapses and always knowing where your man is will go a long way.
Joakim Noah, who's making $17 million this season, has been a dud so far in New York, averaging 4 points and 8 rebounds per game.
The Wolves surrendered 38 total fourth-quarter points in Monday night's loss to Utah.
Ricky Rubio has been benched the entire fourth-quarter in Minnesota's past three games.
This may be odd, but I'm predicting the Wolves will lose tonight at home and win Friday in New York. I think it'll take one more game for Minnesota to get their feet under themselves. Let's hope I'm wrong.
Wolves lose 106-100. Wiggins finishes with 25 points and 6 rebounds. Bjelica pours in 10 off the bench.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.