Preview & Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

Kurt —  March 18, 2007

Kareem vs. Bruce Lee: The guys at NBA Fanhouse have been mining Youtube and found a classic.

Dare we say “winning streak? Here are the next five Laker games — Minnesota, Memphis, New Orleans, Golden State, Memphis. All winable, and a chance to get their confidence back heading toward the playoffs.

Last meeting. These two teams got together for a double-overtime game two weeks ago, a game where Minnesota stayed close in the fourth quarter because Mark Blount suddenly thought he was Jason Kapono and went 3-3 from three-point range. Minnesota eventually won in double overtime.

For the most part the Lakers played pretty good defense in that game, even Rickey Davis (who had 33 points) was 10-23 from the floor (but got to the line a lot and was 12-12 there). Garnett also shot under 50%.

It was the Laker offense that sputtered in that game, particularly late — there were the three failed inbounds plays, and the team being baffled by the zone defense. Outside of Kobe the Lakers shot 41.3%.

But this time the Lakers have Odom and Walton back.
Walton is expected back tonight.

Things to look for: I’m guessing we won’t see Kobe throwing his arm out and hitting Jaric in the face again. Jaric will likely get the primary Kobe assignment, as Trenton Hassell is not completely healed from a sprained ankle.

With Jaric trying to overplay Kobe and deny him the ball, other guys should be able to get good matchups and looks, Odom, others need to step up.

Hopefully the Lakers will have better defensive rotations out to the three-point line — it was a weak spot against Portland. They need to get out there even if the guy shooting is some 7-foot center, like Blount.

Look for a big game from Smush on offense — the T-Wolves are worse at defending the point guard spot than the Lakers (Smush had 24 in the last meeting on 64.3% [eFG%] shooting). Of course, they also struggle to defend the two, and I think that guy who plays the two for the Lakers can score pretty well too.