Tony Parker and Luke Ridnour will be the key matchup when the San Antonio Spurs face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.
Both teams are coming into this game with disappointing losses. The Spurs lost in overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies with Parker chip in 30 points while the Wolves lost against the New Orleans Hornets with Ridnour scoring 20 points.
This is the first of four meetings this season between the teams, so it will be interesting how both teams play against each other and their new look teams.
The Timberwolves are still slowly letting Ricky Rubio adjust to playing since his knee injury, so look for Ridnour to shoulder the responsibility of the scoring.
What Parker must do on offense:
He has to attack Minnesota on the pick and roll and try to get into the paint as much as he can. The team is also missing Kevin Love since he re-fractured his hand. The Wolves' depth is thin in the frontcourt and getting the team in foul trouble will be key with Parker being aggressive. Parker must also look for his teammates when they're open and pass it as soon as possible. The Timberwolves are built to be athletic and are long defensively. They may be small in the frontcourt, but they are quick in the backcourt and can recover quickly to shooters. He must also take open mid range jumpers if he has them. That will make the Wolves rotate and force to cover Parker close in the perimeter, even if he can out quick them to the rim.
What Parker must do on defense:
He must force Ridnour out to the 3 point line and away from the paint. Ridnour is shooting 31% from the three point line and if Parker can lower his confidence by missing the long ball, it may effect the rest of his game. With Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter in, he also has to make him go baseline for a quick trap. That's the hardest place to get a pass off since he can only see a small half of the court. Parker's quick feet will also play a part in fatiguing Luke Ridnour for the majority of the game, especially with Ridnour playing most of the game at point guard with Ricky Rubio still not healthy enough to play extended minutes.