Nets look to win their second straight as the Timberwolves come to town

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It's good to be home. After a three game road trip that saw them play in three overtime games, the Nets returned home and beat up on the Cavaliers on Friday night. Brooklyn also got some help from the Trailblazers as the returning LaMarcus Aldridge helped Portland to beat Chicago on the road. The Nets are 1.5 games behind the Bulls for the fourth and 2.5 games behind the playoff bound Toronto Raptors.

Making the visit to Brooklyn this Sunday evening will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. Although the Timberwolves are one game above .500, they will be missing the playoffs for the tenth straight season.

This is the second meeting between the clubs this year. They played in November and the short-handed Nets lost by 30 points in Minneapolis.

The season so far

What's happening with these teams? Let's check the stats:

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Minnesota

Record

38-33 36-35

Pace

93.69 99.88

Offensive Efficiency

104.3 105.9

Defensive Efficiency

104.3 103.6

Offensive Rebounding percentage

21.7 27.4

Turnover rate

15.1 13.5

Assist rate

16.8 17.2

Rebound rate

47 50.6

Free throw rate

31.4 31.9

Effective Field Goal percentage

51 48.6

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.4 51.7

Two former Timberwolves won't be in action for this one. Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Garnett are both out for this contest. This is the fourth straight game Kirilenko has missed and Garnett hasn't played at all this month.

The Deron Williams-Ricky Rubio matchup should be highly entertaining. Williams has been having a good week for the Nets and will face a good test in Rubio. Rubio is a pretty good defender and one of the finer defenders at the point guard position. He still can't finish near the basket, but the Wolves average 109.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the court as compared to just 98 without him. For Deron, his success at ball control will come in handy against the league's steals leader.

Paul Pierce should have a good game. This month, the Wolves have allowed teams to shoot 37.7 percent from three point range. This bodes well for Pierce because he's shot a blistering 45.8 percent from three point range this month.

Kevin Love has continued his ascent and he's become one of the best players in the league. Back in November, Canis Hoopus co-manager Eric Goldman told us:

Kevin Love is just a flat out superstar. He does it all--rebound, score inside and out (watch for his newly developed jump hook in the post), and he's added passing to his game this year. It's a joy to watch.

After an injury plagued 2012-2013 season, Love is averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes a night. He's always been known to take a lot of three pointers, but he's taking more than usual this season. Love is taking 6.5 attempts from three point range a night and is making a more than respectable 38.5 percent of them. On a team that is at full strength, Love is extremely tough to handle. For a team that's lacking frontcourt depth? Don't be surprised if Love has another big game. He'll also be well-rested after playing only 28:44 (and getting a triple double along the way) in their win against the Lakers on Friday.

Player to watch: Nikola Pekovic

Pekovic was expected to miss about a week, but he ended up missing a month. Despite that injury, the big guy is having a career year. He's averaging about 18 points and nine rebounds in only 31 minutes a night. He signed a five year extension over the summer & figures to help get the Wolves back into the playoffs soon.

The Nets missed Pek the first time around, but they won't be so lucky this time. Mason Plumlee, Andray Blatche and the rest of the Nets are gonna have their hands full. Pekovic is one of the five best offensive rebounders and Brooklyn just so happens to be the third worst defensive rebounding team in the Association. Pekovic figures to dominate the inside, but the Nets can have some success against him if Blatche's jump shot is working.

From the Vault

There's a lot going on here. Stephon Marbury & Kevin Garnett are trying to knock off the four time Champion Chicago Bulls. Dennis Rodman kicked a cameraman, who sold it like a CHAMP. But most importantly, Prince is at the game!


More reading: Canis Hoopus

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