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Game Preview: Timberwolves vs. Heat
Monday, February 6, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Timberwolves enter today’s contest in the midst of a rough start to February, as they have lost their last three games. The first loss came in Cleveland, as the reigning champs pounded the Wolves 125-97 on national television. The second loss came at the hands of the Detroit Pistons in Detroit, 116-108. The most recent loss occurred at home, and in heartbreaking fashion, as the Wolves blew an 18-point lead to the Grizzlies, who were without Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Chandler Parsons.
That loss also came on the heels of the Zach LaVine injury news, in which LaVine tore his left ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. As of now, Minnesota stands at 19-32 on the season, now 5-5 in their last 10 games, and 13th place in the Western Conference.
The Miami Heat are currently ‘heating’ on an out-of-nowhere 10-game win streak. Their most recent victory was against the Philadelphia 76ers sans Joel Embiid. In the 125-102 win, Miami big man Hassan Whiteside compiled an impressive stat sheet, scoring 30 points and snagging 20 rebounds. Right now, Miami is currently sitting at the 12 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, with a 21-30 overall record.
PG: Ricky Rubio #9
SG: Brandon Rush #4
SF: Andrew Wiggins #22
PF: Gorgui Dieng #5
C: Karl-Anthony Towns #32
PG: Goran Dragic #7
SG: Dion Waiters #11
SF: Rodney McGruder #17
PF: Luke Babbitt #5
C: Hassan Whiteside #21
Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic – out/season (recurring ankle pain), Zach LaVine – out/season (torn left ACL), Adreian Payne – out (illness), Kris Dunn – questionable (hand)
Heat: Justice Winslow – out/season (shoulder), Josh McRoberts – out (foot), Josh Richardson – out (foot)
This will be the first regular season matchup between these two teams. Last season in their two meetings, the series went even, 1-1. Miami and Minnesota faced off this preseason, with the Timberwolves walking away victorious, 101-96 back in last October.
Brandon Rush started in place of the injured Zach LaVine the last time the Wolves took the floor, and played a total of 24 minutes. Rush compiled five points and three rebounds in the loss. While the numbers do not tend to show true hustle plays, that is what Rush can bring to the table. Look for the 6”6 sharpshooter to keep making the small plays that help the Wolves throughout the contest.
TV: Fox Sports North – Dave Benz (play-by-play), Jim Peterson (analyst)
Radio: 830 WCCO-AM – Alan Horton (play-by-play)