Game 66 Preview: Wolves vs. Spurs

Timberwolves: 14-51

Spurs: 37-25

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It seems like the Wolves are always playing teams from Texas as of late. Any-who, the Wolves and Spurs are coming into this game with completely different mind-sets; the Wolves are coming in having lost 12 of their last 13 and tensions are rising amongst the players and coaches while the Spurs are coming in off a good victory over the Knicks Wednesday night. “Losing, it weighs on you,” [Head Coach Kurt] Rambis said. “Everybody is frustrated. This is where you look at people’s character and see what they do. Your options are to roll over or to fight.” Tonight will pose as a serious challenge for our Timber-Puppies. They are going through the growing pains of a rough rebuilding season full of highs and lows, but mostly lows. One thing to look for tonight is the play of Kevin Love. He has been considerably upset about his playing time and role as a player on this team. I’d like to see him get back to fighting shape and post a solid double-double while playing a satisfying amount of minutes. Al Jefferson has played well since returning from his brief two-game suspension. His shooting percentage has increased steadily and he looks like he’s getting back into the groove he had back in December and January. As for the Spurs, Manu Ginobili has filled the void of Tony Parker nicely, including a game high 28-point-effort Wednesday against the Knicks, and will be a tough match-up for Corey Brewer. Stopping him will be key if the Wolves plan to pull themselves out of this funk. The pace of this game will also be important. The Wolves will want to pressure the Spurs early and not allow them to set up their half-spurt sets. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure the Wolves won’t be able to hang with the Spurs in a slower, half-court set type of game, so the Wolves need to get the Spurs running to have a even a fighting chance. But even then, the fact of the matter is that the Wolves have been dominated by the Spurs and have lost 10 straight to them. Will tonight make it 11 straight? We’ll see.

Match-ups:

Point Guard:

Jonny Flynn vs. George Hill

Flynn has played better as of late. He’s still not at the level where most fans and coaches want him to be but he’s slowly improving. Hill is filling in for the injured Tony Parker and has done well himself. This match-up is going to come down to who can shoot the ball better, especially from 3-point territory. And based on numbers alone, Hill has the advantage but watch out for Flynn’s heart and soul, especially if this goes down to the wire.

Advantage: San Antonio

Shooting Guard:

Corey Brewer vs. Manu Ginobili

We’ve all been witness to what Brewer has done these past few months and it truly has been a terrific thing to watch. But truth is, all good things come to an end and Brewer’s hot hand has finally cooled off. His streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer is still alive but his shooting percentages are declining. On the other hand, Ginobili has played outstanding as of late and has provided a solid scoring option for the Spurs in the absence of Tony Parker.

Advantage: San Antonio

Small Forward:

Ryan Gomes vs. Keith Bogans

Gomes has played very well the past few games. I’ve enjoy watching his play in the high-post particularly. Bogans could have troubles defending Gomes due to his advantage in strength and size. Bogans can provide a spark on offense though, especially if he warms up from beyond the arc but even then, I think Gomes has a good advantage here.

Advantage: Minnesota

Power Forward:

Al Jefferson vs. Antonio McDyess

McDyess is a bit over the hill, so Jefferson’s youth and athleticism might bite McDyess in the butt tonight. With that aside, I really want to see what Rambis has planned for Kevin Love tonight. Love’s minutes have declined and Rambis has used Love in some peculiar roles lately. I’d like to see Love get back to his prototypical double-double form again tonight, all while playing just as many minutes as Big Al does.

Advantage: Minnesota

Center:

Darko Milicic vs. Tim Duncan

Duncan is showing signs of wear-and-tear just like McDyess and has yet to post a double-double this month. Well tonight might be the night. Darko has been solid lately, including his most efficient performance Wednesday night against the Nuggets. But Timmy is Timmy and Darko could have trouble with Duncan’s sheer dominating skills.

Advantage: San Antonio

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