The San Antonio Spurs (12-7) return to the road after defeating the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday witha display of productive bench depth and a focus back to defense. The team will play the Minnesota Timberwolves (8-10) tonight in Minnesota as the Spurs return to the location where they lost their best player,Manu Ginobili, for 6-8 weeks on January 2.
That evening, the Timberwolves were led by Kevin Love's 24 points and 19 rebounds, and the Timberwolves shot 58% from the field, and 57% from beyond the arc as they defeated the Spurs 106-96.
Minnesota is 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Commendable areas for the Timberwolves
Rebounding: The Timberwolves rebound the ball very well led by Kevin Love's 14 rebounds per game. The Wolves are ranked 10th in rebounding with 43 rebounds per game.
Making threes: The Timberwolves shoot a bunch of threes, and they are among the top three-point makers in the league. The Wolves make an average of 7.4 three pointers per game which is ranked 4th in the NBA.
Getting to the line: Minnesota is ranked 4th in the NBA at getting to the free throw line with 26.8 free throw attempts per game. They also make free throws at a high rate of 20.1 made free throws per game, which is ranked 5th in the league.
Out-shoot their opponent: The T-Wolves are 5-1 this season when they out-shoot their opponent. The Spurs can attest to this as the Wolves out-shot them on January 2.
Deficient areas for the Timberwolves
Passing outside of Rubio: Aside from Rubio being their main distributor with 8.7 assists per game, the Timberwolves are ranked fourth to last with 18 assists per game.
Turnovers: The Timberwolves give away the ball in bunches as they average 15.9 turnovers per game. The Spurs shouldn't solely rely on this weakness of the Wolves as Minnesota turned the ball over 19 times against them in January and still beat the Spurs.
Opponent scoring splash: The Wolves are 0-5 this season when their opponents light up the scoreboard and score more than 100 points against the Wolves.
Timberwolves' Top Performers
Kevin Love- 25 points, 14 rebounds, 1.06 steals per game, 41% 3PT shooting from beyond the arc. Ricky Rubio- 11 points, 8.7 assists, 2.56 steals per game Derrick Williams- 8 points per game Dario Milicic- 1.22 blocks per game Timberwolves offense Love 18.2 FGA, Rubio 9.4 FGA, Williams 6.8 FGA, Wayne Ellington 7 FGA
With the amount of injuries the Timberwolves are currently sustaining, it's going to be difficult for them to stop a Spurs unit that won its previous road game and has a multitude of weapons off the bench along with the increased aggressiveness of Tony Parker.
Green, Leonard and Blair are disappointments tonight. James Anderson should have given a chance rather than keep on playing Green, In previous nights Green was lucky but ANderson is steadier and a better shooter. When Blair was not returned to the play Malcolm Thomas should have been given the chance to play.
Despite the absence of Beasley, the timberwolves are still formidable. They have no shortage of big men. They already defeated the spurs. The role players have to produce - Green, Bonner and Splitter and Neal must play better than the first time around. Maybe Malcolm Thomas will be assigned to check love. Another chance for James Anderson?