Off a tougher-than-expected 94-90 loss at Target Center by the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Wolves travel to Atlanta to once again rise above .500 on the season.
The Hawks (24-21) are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference Standings. They are 6-4 in their last ten games with a 125-99 win over Philadelphia Friday in Philly. Before that, Atlanta had their Wednesday game against Detroit postponed due to an apocalyptic two inches of snow that paralyzed the city — but here’s a pretty interesting article about that.
Hawks likely starting lineup:
PG Jeff Teague
SG Kyle Korver
SF DeMarre Carroll
PF Paul Millsap
C Gustavo Ayon
Without Al Horford (out for the season again), the Wolves will have to contend with former Utah Jazz nemesis, Paul Millsap. Millsap has averaged 18 points and 6 rebounds on 44% shooting the last ten games. His 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks and occasional three pointer make him an exceptionally tough cover — and a tough follow-up to last night’s Zach Randolph match-up for Kevin Love.
Starting point guard Jeff Teague has averaged 17 points and 7 assists on 41% shooting this season and missed a couple games earlier this week with a sprained ankle.
Wolves likely starting lineup:
PG Ricky Rubio
SG Kevin Martin
SF Corey Brewer
PF Kevin Love
C Rony Turiaf
Ricky Rubio (once again) sat the fourth quarter of a Wolves loss. Against Memphis, J.J. Barea got the nod because he made two three pointers and Memphis rolled with Courtney Lee instead of the injured Mike Conley — regardless, Barea played the fourth while Rubio sat brokenhearted. The fact Rubio doesn’t threaten to score is more than a bit of a theme this season, but it’s hard to ignore the results of choosing to run without him.
Kevin Love played 37 minutes and turned an ankle against the Grizzlies. In a game the Wolves would have been better off losing by 20+ and getting some rest, the Wolves may have their work cut out for them with a tired Love against the Hawks. Luckily, Rubio will be well rested.