Game 54 Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

Ah, we go from my least favorite announcers to my most favorite.

Minny beat the Hornets last night in New Orleans. That is an impressive win, and David Kahn has something to celebrate. That and Kevin Love's all-star nod. But I've already written about how much I like Love (haha like Love, get it?) and I will spare you tonight.

Unfortunately for the T-Wolves both Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic were injured during the game. Beasley re-injured an ankle that was already in bad shape, and Darko, who is having a breakout season, injured a hip flexor early on. Both are questionable, so if the lineups change I will try to adjust. For now, I'm assuming Beasley sits and Darko starts. What's more, Luke Ridnour did not travel with the team, but unlike Aaron Brooks he isn't with the team for legitimate reasons. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Ridnour stayed home to be with his wife, who has had complications after giving birth to twins. Best of luck and health to the whole family, of course.

And I bet AB gets time off the bench tonight. Daryl probably realizes that if he wants to make a trade he has to make the guy look good. This is a good game to let him shoot a bit, but I don't want him messing with this little streak we've got going.

And yes, there are going to be at least 15 "Play Terrence Williams" comments at the bottom. So, please submit your name in the comments and you will be added to the "Free T-Will Committee," whose goal is to get T-Will onto the court by any means necessary, including ball-boy, referee, or dude that cleans up the sweat after free throws.

These teams got into a shootout last time, but the Rockets held on to win 129-125.

Update: Beasley and Darko are out. Wesley Johnson and Nikola Pekovic will start. And Jordan Hill is active.

Matchups!

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Jonny Flynn:

I didn't like Flynn at 'Cuse, and I don't much like him in the NBA. I just don't see it. Every year there's a random player that shoots up draft boards for no reason. I thought Wesley Johnson was this year's guy, but he's been playing just fine for a rookie.

Lowry needs to stop jacking up dumb threes early in the shot clock. He did it at the beginning of the year, and we kind of lost a lot of games. It's time for that to stop.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Corey Brewer

No matter what Brewer does with his NBA career, I'll always remember him for that half-court shot that started a 3OT disaster in Houston last season. It was a game that had no business being as close as it was, but you know the Rockets. Win a game handily? As if!

K-Mart had his Eff You game against Denver. Or was it an Eff You half? Either way, dude was balling.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Michael Beasley/Wesley Johnson:

If Beasley doesn't start, Tolliver will most likely see time here since he replaced B-Easy against the Hornets on Monday night. He shot the ball well, going 4-7 from the three point line. But it seems like Wesley Johnson will start instead. Huh.

If it's Beasley, T-Wolves get the edge. If not...

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Kevin Love:

What's not to love about this guy? He was considered undersized. He's not really athletic. He is always improving, so you can be sure he works hard in the offseason. He's averaging 21/16, and leads the league in rebounding, which is a hustle stat. I like the guy, and I think Coach K should have played him more during the FIBA Worlds. Way more.

Scola and the Chuckwagon will have their work cut out for them tonight. It's going to take a team effort on the glass to keep Love from grabbing more than 20, which he could easily go for tonight.

Advantage: T-Wolves

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Darko Milicic/Nikola Pekovic:

Darko is actually having a good year. His stats don't show it, but I've watched a couple of Minny games and I can see more confidence there. You gotta feel bad for the guy. Not only did he fall flat on his face, but the other four guys in the top 5 that year (LeBron, Melo, D-Wade, and Bosh) are stars in the league now.

If he doesn't play, Pekovic will most likely start.

If that happens, then...

Advantage: Rockets

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Bench:

T-Wolves: Ricky Rubio, Wayne EllingtonAnthony Tolliver, Kosta Koufos, Nikola Pekovic

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill

Advantage: I don't know, since the benches could change. Rockets get a slight edge.

Injuries:

T-Wolves: Milicic questionable, Beasley questionable, Webster out, Ridnour out

Rockets:

Prediction: Touch-and-Go

Timberwolves vs Rockets coverage

Canis Hoopus

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