What did Minnesota do over the summer?
Oh, not much really. They just twiddled their thumbs and talked about how happy they were that it wasn't snowing and THEY TRADED KEVIN LOVE TO THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS. In return, the Timberwolves received Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, two number one draft picks. The Cavs also chipped in a trade exception. Of course, a trade of this magnitude is no easy feat. A third team was brought in to help facilitate the deal and yes, it was the Philadelphia 76ers. If there are draft picks to be had, Sam Hinkie is all over it.
Minnesota sent Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved packing to the City of Brotherly Love while the Sixers gave up their best player in Thaddeus Young to the Wolves.
This was the most talked about deal of the summer. Now, with rumors and denials about Love opting out and becoming a free agent next summer, it looks as though the T-Wolves got the better end of the bargain.
What have the Timberwolves done lately?
Both the Mavericks and the Timberwolves come into tonight's game after participating in record setting blowouts in their previous contests. They were just on opposite sides of the scoreboard. Minnesota, who is currently on a six-game road trip (they played the Rockets in Mexico City in what was considered a "home game") that wraps up tonight in Dallas. The game against the Mavs will also be the second game of a back-to-back for the Wolves. Friday night, Minny took on the Pelicans in New Orleans. It was a game that, in many ways, resembled the Mavericks blowout victory over the 76ers. Only in this scenario the Pelicans were the Mavs and the T-Wolves were the Sixers.
At halftime, the score was 80-44. The Timberwolves saw the Pelicans only miss consecutive shots once during the first half and shoot 72.1 percent. By the time the dust settled after the final buzzer, Minnesota was on the wrong end of a 139-91 rout. New Orleans set franchise records for total points, made field goals, shooting percentage, and margin of victory. They also tied a franchise record with 15 made 3-pointers. It wasn't a good evening for the Wolves.
Which Wolves player might be due for a big game?
Kevin Martin because Kevin FREAKING Martin. In his career versus the Mavericks, Martin averages 18.2 points on 45.4 percent from the field. From deep, he connects on 45.1 percent of his 3-point attempts. He has only shot better from downtown against four other teams. It stands to reason that Martin will be in for another big night against the Mavs unless the Dallas perimeter defense can find a way to patch all their holes.
What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the T-Wolves?
Minnesota hasn't played a true home game since November 1 and they have been on the road since November 5. This is the last game of a grueling road trip and the second night of a back-to-back. The Timberwolves players probably don't have much left in the tank for this one. Yet, it's likely that they will come out with some life after being embarrassed last night.
Beyond that, the Wolves just aren't a good team. They allow their opponents to score 107.4 points per game which is 27th in the league. Just as a reminder, the Mavericks have the best offense in the NBA and score 107.1 points per game. If there is one upside for Minnesota, it's that they don't foul shooters. When facing a team like Dallas, that's a good thing.
The Timberwolves have a roster rife with young talent and a handful of veterans. Looking at the roster, it is easy to get a little excited about the potential of the young players. However, as it stands now, they are just that: young players.
For Dallas to win, the Mavs must stave off any sense of complacency after their big win over the Sixers. The Wolves will be looking to keep the game close. All the Mavericks have to do is play their game and have balanced scoring. These Wolves might bite a bit but it should only be a nibble.
Raymond Felton is out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle.
Ricky Rubio is out indefinitely with a sprained left ankle.
Thaddeus Young will miss tonight's game after the passing of his mother.