The Nets are coming off an impressive Martin Luther King Day win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Yet, the team has lost eight straight games in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves are 3-7 in their last 10 as they hover around the .500 mark.
Avenge Early Season Loss
The Nets seemed to be cruising to their second win of the season back on Nov. 5 against the Timberwolves. Brooklyn led by 22 with just over eight minutes to play in the third quarter.
But then the wheels feel completely off, especially since the Timberwolves were playing without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
Brooklyn’s defense broke down, which allowed Minnesota to creep back into the game and eventually earn the victory. The Timberwolves outscored the Nets 32-10 in the fourth quarter.
That game started the Nets’ patented second half struggles, which they’ve dealt with for most of the season. In Monday’s win over the Knicks, the third quarter (6-of-20 shooting for 18 points) almost cost the Nets the game.
The Nets must be sure to maintain a big lead if they race out to one tonight.
The Nets made some roster changes Tuesday by sending Tyshawn Taylor, Toko Shengelia and Damion James all back to the D-League.
Brooklyn’s roster now has one open roster spot (the spot James occupied), and the Nets may be looking to fill it. Former Net Kenyon Martin’s name has been mentioned, but the Nets might be wise to look into bringing in a natural backup center, which would give the team more flexibility with Andray Blatche.
Timberwolves Banged Up
Though Rubio has returned, Love will miss his 10th straight game dealing with a hand injury.
Minnesota will also be without guard Malcolm Lee and forward Chase Budinger, who torched the Nets from the outside in the earlier season win over the Nets.
Center Nikola Pekovic and rookie guard Alexey Shved are both dealing with injuries and could possibly miss their third straight games. Shved hit the go-ahead shot in the Nov. 5 win.
Unfriendly Third Quarters
The Nets have of course struggled in third quarters this season, but the Timberwolves are averaging an NBA-worst 21.7 points in third quarters this season. Brooklyn checks in at 22.1.
Over the last 12 games, the Timberwolves have been outscored in the third quarter.
Team Chemistry amongst Starters
The most recent starting lineup of Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans has an 8-1 record in games they’ve all started.
This will likely be the starting five in tonight’s game as well.
The action tips off at 8 p.m. and can be seen on the YES Network.