Where: Madison Square Garden (Never heard of it…)
When: 4pm CST
See It: My29
Hear It: WCCO AM 830
Here’s something that kind of crept up on me: the Timberwolves are 7-3 over their last ten games. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t feel like it’s that way, yet it is, and it’s awesome. Probably feels different because of the Florida road trip last week. Still, the Wolves have won seventy percent of their last ten games, which is great. Yes, some opponents have been better than others, but you still have to go out there and beat inferior teams.
However, these Knicks are a team to be reckoned with, currently in second place in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Love will be out tonight after getting his eye raked by Russell Westbrook on Thursday (If you saw it, it was a hard hit, and apparently his eye looked terrible after the game.), but the Knicks are missing Amare Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, and Marcus Camby in the frontcourt, so they’ll be thinner than usual, too.
This of course means probably means Andrei Kirilenko seeing lots of Carmelo Anthony. Historically, this matchup has favored Melo, but Kirilenko provides the Timberwolves their best shot at slowing Melo down.
As a whole, this Knicks team will really test the Timberwolves’ perimeter defense, as they rank first and first in both three pointers attempted and made. Seriously. Melo, Ray Felton, Jason Kidd, and Steve Novak take between 4-5.7 attempts per game EACH. Yet, they don’t defend the three the greatest — they rank in the bottom of the league in opponent eFG%, due in part to the fact opponents make such a high percentage against them — but the Wolves don’t shoot the three well on most occasions, either.
Oh yeah, Felton-Chandler pick ‘n’ rolls…more Knicks offensive fun!
Despite the Knicks not being a particularly strong rebounding team, the Timberwolves will have to try to force them to make mistakes that they don’t typically make since they will be without Love. It’s safe to say that if the Knicks are protecting the ball like they have all year, and no one steps up on the glass, it could be a long night if the Knicks try to turn this thing into a three point shoot out.
After tonight the Timberwolves will have played three of the league’s top four offensive teams consecutively, but the schedule softens up considerably going into next week.
Projected Starting Fives:
Luke Ridnour — PG — Jason Kidd
Alexey Shved — SG — Ray Felton
Andrei Kirilenko — SF — Ronnie Brewer
Tom Gugliotta — PF — Carmelo Anthony
Nikola Pekovic — C — Tyson Chandler
(Wow, talk about smallball, New York…)