In the third-to-last contest of the 2013-14 season, the Timberwolves will travel to Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento to take on the Kings.
With an exceedingly difficult match-up at Golden State tomorrow night, this is a game that is very important to win if the Wolves are hoping to finish with the moral victory of an above-.500 record at season’s end. They finish the year with a home game against the lowly Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, so there remains a real shot that they can pull out a 42-40 record at worst.
Kevin Love should be able to play this evening after missing Friday night’s home victory over the Rockets due to a hyper-extended elbow suffered last Wednesday. It seems unlikely that Kevin Martin or Nikola Pekovic would rejoin their teammates on the floor tonight, but they still have not been officially ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Last time these two teams squared off, the Wolves pulled out a 104-102 home victory behind a 26-10-5 performance and a 12 point, 11 rebound, 5 block showing by Gorgui Dieng, who started in place of Pekovic. DeMarcus Cousins did not play in that game, so it will certainly be a match-up to keep an eye on this evening. Cousins has averaged 22.6 points per game this season, along with 11.7 rebounds and 1.26 blocks per game, and his ability to knock down mid-range jump shots will be a tough test for Dieng, especially after seeing how much he struggled with Joakim Noah last Wednesday.
Last time out against the Wolves, Derrick Williams was able to post a 26-11, so we’ll see if the Wolves put any effort in handling him differently this time around. It seemed as though his performance was more a product of Williams returning to Target Center and putting a little something extra into the game, and also a bit of luck around the rim. Williams generally doesn’t finish like he should in the paint, as Wolves fans know all too well, and it appeared as though he had a few bounces go his way last month that he won’t necessarily be able to count on again.
Tonight’s game tips off at 8:00 CT. Join us back here with a recap post-game.