Monday, November 5, 2012

Game 2 Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1) at Brooklyn Nets (1-0)

A Band-Aid: A perfect symbol of the 2012-12 Minnesota Timberwolves
UPDATE: Gerald Wallace (ankle) and Josh Childress (ankle) are both out for tonight's game. Keith Bogans will start in place of Wallace.

When: 7:30 pm; Monday, November 5th, 2012

Where: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, NY


We've already won one game as the Brooklyn Nets, why not go for two? That's the question the Nets will be asking themselves tonight as they take on the injury-plagued Minnesota Timberwolves in the second regular season game ever at the Barclays Center. Both the Nets and the T-Wolves won their season opener's--the Nets' against the Raptors and the T-Wolves' against the Kings--and both will be looking to stay above .500 early on the 2012-13 NBA season.

Another similarity between these two teams is that they played their last game against the Raptors, to varying levels of success. As mentioned above, the Nets defeated Toronto on Saturday night by a score of 107-100, led by Brook Lopez' 27 points and 19 points and nine assists from Deron Williams. 

Minnesota wasn't as lucky. 

At the Air Canada Centre last night, they were handled with relative ease by the hometown Raps by a score of 105-86. As they did against the Nets, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan led the offensive effort for Toronto, each scoring 22 points on the night. The T-Wolves--led by 17 points from Andrei Kirilenko and 15 points from Nikola Pekovic--just didn't have an answer for the Raptor backcourt, a fact certainly exacerbated by J.J. Barea suffering a mild concussion in the second quarter. Further hurting the already-injured Wolves' backcourt, Barea wouldn't return in the game and his status is questionable for tonight's game.

Minnesota, unlike the Nets, is already suffering from some debilitating injuries to their key players. Kevin Love (hand) and Ricky Rubio (knee) are both expected to miss extended portions of time this season with their injuries and, as a result, have greatly crippled Minnesota's once-promising playoff hopes. Sure, it's possible with Brandon Roy (and his surgically-repaired knee) and Nikola Pekovic (noted Net-killer) that the T-Wolves and supercoach Rick Adelman could make some noise in the tough Western Conference, but it's very unlikely. So it seems that they are just biding their time, hoping to be ok until Love and Rubio come back, to see if they can contend throughout this whole season.

On the other hand, the Nets don't really have that problem. Other than Gerald Wallace's ankle injury suffered in Saturday's win, Josh Childress' sore ankle, and a nagging injury to reserve Keith Bogans, the Nets are pretty healthy, which normally isn't the case for them. A team constantly shot down by injuries in previous seasons, Brooklyn's injury report is shockingly short, something that hopefully is continued throughout this season. In my (biased) and (probably incorrect) opinion, the only thing potentially preventing this team from making a significant splash in the Eastern Conference is the risk of injury. That risk is prevalent with every NBA team to be sure, but seems to be heightened with the Nets. Let's hope it doesn't become a problem.

Probable Lineups 
MIN- Ridnour (PG), Roy (SG), Kirilenko (SF), Derrick Williams (PF), Pekovic (C)
NETS- D-Will (PG), Joe Johnson (SG), Bogans (SF), Humphries (PF), Lopez (C)

Final Thoughts

In addition to being the second regular season in the history of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center (I'm sure the milestones will be mentioned less as the season drags on), tonight's Nets-Wolves game is the first this year that I will attend. Because of some unfortunate breaks and circumstances revolving Hurricane Sandy and the postponement of the November 1st game against the Knicks, I wasn't able to go to Saturday's win over Toronto. However, me and my dad will be in our Section 17 seats to watch BROOKLYN'S team for the first time in a game that counts. Fair to say, I'm pumped. 

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