Minnesota Timberwolves game previews between November 28 and December 4, including games against: Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz.
After a 5-11 start, the panic button looks tempting in Minnesota. Whether that means waiving the white flag or a short-sighted trade remains to be seen; but for now, it’s still a bit too early.
As the season approaches the twenty-five percent marker, the Wolves are still adjusting their rotation and searching for consistency. In Friday’s victory over Phoenix, Tyus Jones once again made his case for a rotational spot—and Thibs revisited Tyus during the fourth quarter in Golden State. The wing position has been predictably frail—Brandon Rush received his first meaningful minutes in weeks—and the Adreian Payne saga survives.
Week six features four games all against playoff hopefuls. While reaching for the panic button is immature, the Wolves desperately need a week that involves as much winning as losing.
Monday, 28 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
The first game of the week is a home contest against the Utah Jazz—the first matchup between the two teams. During the off-season, Utah surrounded its young core with complementary veterans and its paying dividends. The team is 9-8, including a blowout of Atlanta this past Friday.
The Jazz will be missing Alec Burks and Derrick Favors, but with its increased depth, Utah has a roster built for adversity. Between upcoming guards Rodney Hood and Dante Exum, emerging big man Rudy Gobert and Trey Lyles, and perhaps soon-to-be superstar Gordon Hayward, the Utah Jazz are transitioning into a contender. Expect a tough matchup for the Wolves Monday.
New York Knicks
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
Wolves open a back-to-back with the Knicks in Minnesota. The Knicks made aggressive win-now off-season transactions. They brought in Noah and Rose from Chicago, Brandon Jennings to back up Rose, shooting guard Courtney Lee, and are still led by Anthony and Porzingis. While the season started slow, new head coach Jeff Hornacek has returned them to .500, sitting at 8-8.
Watch the big men in this matchup. KAT and Porzingis are superstars in the making, only KAT doesn’t have the aid of Carmelo Anthony. Porzingis has humbly suggested that he wouldn’t find the open looks he does without Carmelo, and he’s not wrong. However, with Wiggins playing the three, watch to see how the Knicks keep up defensively with the Wolves. This game has shootout potential.
New York Knicks
Friday, 2 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away
The two teams return to New York for a Friday night contest. Not much else to mention here except coaching adjustments. In the second of a back-to-back, it’s logical to justify a difference in outcome through coaching decisions.
Saturday, 3 December 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
The Wolves finish the week in Charlotte. A couple of weeks ago, the Wolves had no answer for Kemba Walker. However, it was Charlotte’s role players that won them the game.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist eradicated the Andrew Wiggins contagion, Frank Kaminsky couldn’t miss in the second half, and Marvin Wiliams continuously frustrated the Minnesota big men with solid screen setting and physical defense. Use Saturday to determine if the last matchup was a poor performance from KAT and Rubio or an overpowering team performance by the Hornets.