Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Raptors - What to watch for [RS 3]

Nov 2, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko (47) looks on during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at the Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Kings 92-80. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The Raps have little time to heal their bruises or pride following a physical defeat in Brooklyn, as the new-look T-wolves come to the ACC. Minnesota’s two best players, Ricky Rubio & Kevin Love, are both sidelined by injury. As a Raps fan, I’m happy [one of the pleasures of being a blogger is that I don't have to pretend to be objective, like those newspaper guys], but as a lover of great hoops, I’m saddened. Those two are a treat to watch – Rubio is a magical ball-handler & distributor, & Love is a rebounding machine who can score from anywhere on the floor. Both are MVPs in waiting.

OK, so who is showing up from Minneapolis-St. Paul? The Wolves were rebuilt over the summer, & have brought on board some intriguing players. Brandon Roy couldn’t stand retirement, so he’s back. Whether his knees can withstand the pounding of the NBA remains to be seen, but he was a superb scorer as a Trailblazer. Andrei Kirilenko was lured back from Russia to play Small Forward; it will be interesting to see what he’s got left in the tank. He was a speedy & relentless presence for the Jazz for years. Derrick Williams at Small Forward is still establishing himself as a pro, after being the second pick in the 2011 draft. I’ve always liked Luke Ridnour as a useful backup guard, but he shouldn’t be a starter. While he did so against the Kings, tiny J.J. Barea came off the Wolves’ bench to score 21 points with 5 assists. One would think those players would flip roles.

I think the home team can win this game by outrunning the Wolves. Let’s hope the Raps can play their hurry-up game, with lots of fast breaks off quick outlet passes. This contest is likely to be the closest thing we’ll see to a Euroleague game without hopping a jet, as both teams feature many non-American players. I think the entertainment value is likely to be very high, and the Raps are due for a win. Let’s guess 106-102. No more moral victories, how about a real one?

Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.


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