Minnesota Timberwolves (23-25, 11-13 road) vs. OKC Thunder (35-12, 20-4 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.7 (1st), Wolves– 104.7 (12th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.1 (12th), Wolves – 104.7 (15th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (5th), Wolves – 93.4 (4th)
View from the enemy: A Wolf Among Wolves
What you hope to see tonight is a Thunder team that is back on the upswing. A Thunder team ready from tip-off, ready to compete and ready to play a good game. The whipping of the Clippers was nice, but that one is in the rearview and it’s time to play another solid team at home.
Minnesota coming in: The Wolves lost to the Spurs Wednesday.
Three Big Things
1. Kevin Love. He’s a big problem. The Thunder really don’t have anyone designed to defend him in the pick-and-pop game and no matter who you put on him, he’s going to rebound. The Wolves are without Nikola Pekovic, which is a nice break for OKC because it means Minnesota will likely play a lot of smallball with Love at the 5, which actually will probably favor OKC.
2. The halfcourt. Both teams like to run, but it’s going to be big whoever can execute in the halfcourt. Easy transition buckets are nice, but running crisp sets, getting good shots and converting efficiently in the halfcourt offense is a must.
3. Ricky Rubio. I’m super sad I don’t get to see Rubio in person tonight. I’ve been looking forward to this game for a while. Between Eric Maynor and Rubio, two really nice young point guards have gone down this year to knee injuries. For shame. (And it means lots of J.J. Barea’s flopping, which is no fun.)
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go ACLs.