What has Minnesota done lately?
Much like the Magic, who the Mavs played on Saturday, the Timberwolves do a lot of losing. Their current losing streak stands at just two games, however, the team is 8-39 on the season. Oof. It's not all doom and gloom (though a Minnesota winter certainly seems that way) for the Wolves, though. Ricky Rubio, who has been out of the lineup since November with a sprained left ankle, will be returning to action against the Mavericks.
Which Timberwolves player might be due for a big game?
It would be nice to see Rubio come out in his first game back and perform well. The thing is, we don't know if he will be on a minutes restriction or how long it will take him to get back into the flow of the game. Andrew Wiggins is the next logical choice for someone who could have a big game but he already gets a lot of shine in the media. He'll be Rookie of the Year. That's all fine and good but...yawn.
That brings us to Thaddeus Young. Oh yeah. Young, who is just 26, has a player option this summer and could opt out of his contract. There have been mumblings around the web that Minnesota may be looking to unload him before the trade deadline, however, they are just rumors at this point. What Young brings night in and night out is a veteran presence on the court. He's played in the NBA since he was 19. Young is averaging 14.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists this season. In his first meeting with the Mavericks, Young scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished six dimes. With the Dallas being light at power forward behind Dirk Nowitzki, Al-Farouq Aminu's recent energetic burst aside, it's not inconceivable that Young could post a similar stat line.
Which team stat might determine the game?
Turnovers will play a major role in Monday's game. Both defenses create a lot of turnovers. Dallas forces opponents to cough up the ball 14.8 percent of the time while Minnesota comes away with it on 14.3 percent of their defensive possessions. The teams are ranked 4th and 9th, respectively. Yet, the advantage should go in the Mavs' favor. Dallas only turns the ball over on 11.5 percent of their offensive possessions this season. However, the Mavericks have been averaging 15 turnovers per game in their last six contests. It would behoove them to hold onto the ball.
What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Wolves?
Other than winning the aforementioned turnover battle, the Mavericks should just have to show up for this one. The Timberwolves aren't particularly good at much and their record is proof of that. What they do well is hoist a lot of 2-point shots. They lead the league in that respect. Yet, they connect on just 45.6 percent of these shots which ranks them 28th.
On paper this is already a win for Dallas. That being said, the Mavs let Orlando creep back into the game the other night. This team just doesn't want to make it easy on themselves or for their fans. Hopefully, this one will be easy and the Mavs don't Marv things up.