By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy Tuesday, Wolves fans.
The Wolves -- fresh off an oustanding overtime win in Charlotte -- are back in Minneapolis tonight for a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.
The 17-4 Spurs have gotten off to a fantastic start to their season, having not lost a road game yet. Kawhi Leonard might be the best two-way player in the game. LaMarcus Aldridge is a superb scoring option from mid-range and in the low post. Pau Gasol gives them another scoring option in the frontcourt. They're a well-oiled Popovich machine with great ball movement on offense and elite defensive material.
The Wolves look for an upset tonight.
What: Wolves - Spurs
Where: Target Center - Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:00pm CT
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for:
If/who will Popovich sit?: Spurs head coach Greg Popovich tends to rest a few players either at the beginning or end of back-to-backs. In this case, the Spurs are on the end of a back-to-back after a 97-96 victory last night in Milwaukee. That said, Wolves fans should be praying that he picks one of either Aldridge or Leonard (latter would be better for Wiggins), or the Wolves may be in for a long night. Regardless, he'll probably rest 36-year old Pau Gasol, which should help a little.
Bench play: Minnesota's bench stepped up in good ways during their recent two-game roadtrip. They averaged 41.5 points per game, a big reason why the team played New York close to the end and defeated Charlotte in overtime. The Spurs' bench -- anchored by Manu Ginobli, Patty Mills, and Jonathan Simmon -- sit 3rd in the NBA in Deff (Efficiency Recap Difference = Efficiency Recap - Opponent's Efficiency Recap), averaging 35.7 points in just 19.6 minutes while playing oustanding defense giving up the 6th least points to opposing benches. Minnesota's bench will need to keep playing at a high level or the Wolves have no chance tonight. None.
Leonard vs. Wiggins: If Popovich chooses to play Leonard tonight, Andrew Wiggins will be dealt his toughest matchup thus far in the season. Leonard's a defensive monster, capable of shutting down (or at least containing) any wing in the league. Both rank in the top 20 in points per game, boasting dynamic skillset's and superb athleticism. Many people believe that Wiggins' best-case scenario as a player appears to be something of what Leonard currently is, which is something to watch for tonight if you are unaware of how good the back-to-back DPoY is.
In 20 games so far this year, Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging a double-double: 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
The Wolves rank 28th in defensive field-goal percentage (46.9%).
Starting tonight vs. San Antonio, Minnesota plays five of its next seven games at Target Center.
Wolves lose 105-98. Towns carries a huge load with Wiggins having to deal with Leonard all night, pouring in 36 points. Ricky Rubio puts up 12/10.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.