by Winter and Ya Mudda
With his team down late in the 4th quarter, Andrew Wiggins went on a scoring run to propel the Wolves to their first home-win of the year against the scrappy 76ers. Riding the wave of success into the next game, Minnesota collected its second win at home in as many tries against last year’s Eastern Conference Finalists, the Atlanta Hawks.
Now on the road again, Minnesota has encountered its share of problems in this young season, specifically the spacing on the floor for shooters. Interim-coach Sam Mitchell reinstated Kevin Martin back into the starting lineup to address this issue. Martin is still struggling to find his rhythm and has shot a pretty miserable percentage from the field in the last two games, 7-of-23 the last two games (30%) and 2-of-7 from beyond the arc (28.5%). He did connect on a dagger three against Philly with just over a minute left, but that was his only 3Pt make of the night. Hey, clutch counts!
Impressively, the young team has managed to compensate with excellent play from the rest of the team, especially leaning heavily on Wiggins. He might be finding a groove and getting more comfortable with his game. Up next, No-Cal’s very own, Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento has had an up-and-down year as DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins has missed time with a variety of ailments and suspensions. The Kings have stayed afloat with Rajon Rondo, and I can’t believe I just typed that. Rondo has managed three triple-doubles and was one rebound away from another in 11 games this season. Oddly enough, he is shooting a better percentage beyond the arc (35%) than he is at the free-throw line (34%). That's just terrible. Sac-town earned a tough victory at Milwaukee in their last game, 129-118. There was some jawing going on between the teams afterwards, and most players were accounting the small confrontation to a heated competition. This is good for the Kings. They need the fire to want to win games and stand up for each other in the process. ‘Boogie’ was on the bench for that win nursing a sore back. Now that he’s ready to go tonight, I’m sniffing out a good match up in the post between the rookie, Towns, and Cousins.
Match-ups to watch:
KARL vs. Boogie: Cousins has had an eventful week, first he first he served a suspension for hitting Horford then in his return he injured his back which put him out of action for the following game, good/bad news(depending on how you look at it) is he’s back for this game. Cousins is arguably the best center in the game and it’s going to be a tough task for KARL to try and contain him tonight. On Wednesday Karl had Horford out there looking like Kobe, shooting 5-15 and basically shutting him down. Cousins is bigger, stronger and more skilled than Horford, this will be his biggest test yet.
Wiggins vs. Gay: Wiggins is good, ya’ll, real good. He had been coming up clutch all season long and Wednesday was no different he hit a huge and-1 lay-up to but the Hawks away in the 4th. Tonight he faces off against Rudy Gay. Both of these guys have similar playing styles, they both like to attack the rim and prefer mid range shots to the 3. Gay should give Wiggins some trouble but I expect him to get his tonight and continue his rise to superstardom.
Lavine vs. Rondo: Well, the glass man is injured again and that means Lavine is back in the starting line-up. Lavine was cooking against the Hawks hitting some ridiculous shots, but he was matched up with the smaller Jeff Teague, so let’s not get too hopeful here. Tonight he’s up against Rajon Rondo, who has been churning out triple doubles at an alarming rate. Rondo isn’t the defender he was before the ALC injury but he is still pretty competent. Offensively Rondo doesn’t look to score but he’s always looking to set up others, the pick and roll with Cousins is deadly and he’s very creative off the bounce. I expect him to make Lavine look inept at least three times tonight; Lavine can resort to hacking as Rondo is shooting a hilarious 35% from the free throw line. Things have been looking up for the Lavine supporters lately; he’s been great. If he keeps this up, who am I going to crack jokes at? Come on Zach think about me, do something stupid.