By: Dan Slaubaugh
Thursday night, in their 29th game of the season, the Wolves won their 17th game. Last year, it took them 45 games to get their 17th win. This is a sign that times are changing, and that the Timberwolves organization appears ready to take the next step as a playoff team in the NBA.
Tonight, they will be making a huge statement as they'll be debuting their neon green "statement" jerseys against the ironically fluorescent Phoenix Suns. The statement jerseys are supposed to be reminiscent of Minnesota and its ethereal northern lights that the league calls its teams "statement edition". Hence, the jersey is inspired by teams' desire to "make a bold statement the moment they enter the court".
With neon green, the Wolves will do just that tonight.
What: Wolves vs. Suns
Where: Target Center. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:10 PM CT
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for:
KAT's defense: Tuesday night, Karl-Anthony Towns commented on an Instagram post by Joel Embiid with "That caption was as trash as your picture quality". After two consecutive quality defensive performances, one may suggest the subsequent reply from Joel Embiid stating "Better than your quality defense" changed Towns' career around and perhaps saved the fate of the Wolves organization. Of course, that would be a silly thing to think. But if it did bother KAT enough to turn the switch, then Minnesota fans should thank Embiid forever and ever. With eight blocks in the past two games, KAT has been the rim protector the Wolves have needed. That's something to watch as we move along through the holiday season.
Reeling Suns: Phoenix arrives in Minneapolis having dropped five consecutive games and 10 of its last 12 following Wednesday's 115-109 home loss to Toronto. They are 0-4 since losing leading scorer Devin Booker to an adductor injury. Minnesota, on the other hand, is coming off their 2nd biggest win of the season, dominating the Sacramento Kings in a 23-point route at Target Center Thursday night.
Split meetings: Frankly, the Wolves should beet (typo, I know, but going to leave it in honor of Dwight Schrute) Phoenix every time they share the floor. However, the lousy defensive teams have split two previous meetings this season with each team winning on its home floor and averaging a combined 228 points per game. The Wolves will try to improve their impressive 10-5 home record and put a halt to Phoenix's recent success at Target Center having won nine of their past 15 games in Minneapolis.
-Phoenix has gone 4-12 since losing to Minnesota on November 11.
-Jimmy Butler has scored 21 or more points in six of seven games.
-Troy Daniels, Suns shooting guard and former Wolf, netted a career-high 32 points with seven three-pointers in Wednesday's loss to Toronto.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Jimmy Butler, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Phoenix: PG Tyler Ulis, SG T.J. Warren, SF Josh Jackson, PF Marquese Chriss, C Greg Monroe
This could be a trap game for the Wolves, but talent usually wins out, and the Wolves have far more of it tonight against a Phoenix team without Devin Booker.
Wolves win 110-97. Towns finishes with 34 points and 13 rebounds, helping my fantasy basketball team retake the lead in a pivotal game against my undefeated friend.