Minnesota Timberwolves game previews between November 14 and November 20, including games against: Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers.
A better week for the Wolves. Between finally holding onto large first half leads and remaining competitive against a superior Clippers team, the Wolves began to show signs of cohesion. Performances of note include two career games from Wiggins (47 points), Bjelica playing with comfort, poise, and energy at the three, and a rotational role for Tyus Jones. After Muhammad and LaVine were kept out Sunday for sore knees (rest), keep an eye on structural adjustments from Thibs after these notable performances.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
First of two meetings between the Wolves and Hornets. Charlotte sits at 6-3 and the team is playing cohesive basketball. Kemba Walker continues to improve and is quietly earning himself a seat in All-Star discussions. Moreover, Coach Clifford has created a culture of knowing your role and doing it well. Players like Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Marco Belinelli and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are pieces to a puzzle and they are fitting well. Despite a lack of star power, the Hornets are a top team in the east and will pose problems for a Wolves squad working through growing pains.
Look for a tough matchup for Dunn and Rubio. The will have to run over picks to contain Walker’s shooting ability, and meanwhile, the bigs have struggled to contain penetrating guards. The Hornets are winning games with a slow pace, committed team defense, and good decision making—they sport fewest turnovers in the NBA. The Wolves will look to push the pace and let it fly from behind the arc.
Thursday, 17 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
Despite cutting Sam Hinkie and ‘The Process’ short, the 76ers remain in the cellars of the NBA. They enter the week with only one win (in overtime) and show no sign of turning their luck around this season. However, there is one bright spot. After two years of injury, big man Joel Embiid is playing, and playing well! While the sample size is small, he is the de facto leader in the rookie-of-the-year candidacy and is putting up some absurd per-36 stats.
Watch for a fun matchup between budding superstars Embiid and Towns. Also keep an eye on rookie Dario Saric and Spaniard Sergio Rodriguez. There is high hope within the organization for Saric as Embiid’s long-term frontcourt partner. As for Rodriguez, this year marks his return to the NBA after six seasons of Real Madrid basketball and he plays a fun brand of basketball. The Rubio-Rodriguez matchup should lead to a watchable game of basketball.
Saturday, 19 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
This marks the third matchup between the Grizzlies and Wolves of the season. The first one featured a blown late lead for the Wolves, and in the second the Grizzlies rested team-leaders Gasol and Conley leading to a Wolves blowout win. Expect the Grizzlies to play everybody and for a hard-fought matchup. The Wolves struggled with their physicality and failed to scrap any defensive stops late in the game—Conley was the largest perpetrator of such. Furthermore, if the Wolves wish to crawl back into the playoff race, the Grizzlies are a likely competitor for a bottom-tier playoff seed.
Watch for the Wolves adjustments. Gasol and Conley present a veteran duo that know the ropes of the NBA grind. The Wolves continue to get off to hot starts, and falter in the third quarter—Memphis will look to quell an early lead and attack in the second half. Look for how Thibs manages his rotation and responds to any run Memphis can make.