By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy New Years Eve, Wolves fans! The Wolves, for the most part, played very sloppy last night. They did, however, close the game out superbly getting significant defensive contributions from Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince. KAT played great as well, finishing with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Of course, there was also Ricky Rubio, who played a spectacular game on both ends and tied a franchise record with 17 assists.
Tonight, the Wolves (12-20) are in Detroit to take on the Pistons (17-15) who have lost 3 straight and currently sitting in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference. Andre Drummond has been a beast and leads the league in rebounds with 16 per game. Reggie Jackson has taken the next step in his career averaging 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Tonight's game should be a fun one.
What: Wolves @ Pistons
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit, Michigan.
When: 5:00 pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North Plus
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Ricky's on fire: Over the past 2 games, Ricky Rubio has tallied 17 points, 31 ASSISTS, and 7 steals - all while committing just 4 turnovers. The unicorn has been getting everyone involved and proving he is truly the most important player on this team. Man, if he could just develop an average jump shot, he'd be a top 5 point guard. But I dream, I dream.
Towns-Drummond: This should be fun. Both are beasts on the boards and don't disappoint in the point column. Both are top 20 in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) on the season. Drummond is 13th with a 23.33 PER. Towns is 17th with a 22.33 PER. In the first matchup both were highly productive, with Drummond winning the matchup by a hair. Anyway, Drummond will be an all-star. Towns could be if he puts together a real nice stretch before the break. This matchup has NBA League Pass written all over it.
Pistons D struggling: In Tuesday night's loss against NYK, they gave up 108 points on 54% shooting. Ouch. Van Gundy blasted the team for lack of defensive effort. If Detroit wants to break out of their 3 game skid, improved defense will have to be key tonight.
Points: Andrew Wiggins (20.6)
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns (9.4)
Assists: Ricky Rubio (9.2)
Steals: Ricky Rubio (2.3)
Blocks: Karl-Anthony Towns (1.9)
Points: Reggie Jackson (20.9)
Rebounds: Andre Drummond (16)
Assists: Reggie Jackson (6.3)
Steals: Andre Drummond (1.9)
Blocks: Andre Drummond (1.5)
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Marcus Morris
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Andre Drummond
OUT: Nikola Pekovic (achilles). Has been cleared for full contact 5 on 5 practice, however. Should return soon.
Has not yet been reported.
That is all. Towns and Drummond should be fun. I'd like to see Wiggins start hitting more jump shots given the fact that he has the 3rd worst shooting % in the league outside the paint. Only LeBron and Kobe have worse. In a postgame interview last night, Ricky said an 18 assist game is coming. How 'bout tonight?
My prediction: Wolves win 106-97. Pistons defensive struggles continue. Ricky finishes with 15 assists.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Happy New Years Eve. Go Wolves.