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Nets look for a win vs the Wolves

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

And another one. The Brooklyn Nets went into Indiana on Friday night riding a three game losing streak and hoping to snap out of their funk. That didn't happen as they lost 104-97 to the Pacers. This is the first leg of a back-to-back for the Nets. They host the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night.

Coming in for the matinee game will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves had lost eight of their previous nine games, but came away with a nice win against the Sacramento Kings on Friday. This is the first night of a back-to-back. They're in Boston to play the Celtics tomorrow night.

It will be Kevin Garnett's first return to Brooklyn, where he said he had a great time.

"New York was great," Garnett said. "The living experience there, I will probably have that for the rest of my life. Playing there was different. Playing before the crowd in Brooklyn was dope."

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV (as long as you don't live in New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania), WCBS 880 AM on the radio (WFAN has the Giants and the Carolina Panthers on, so check out Big Blue View for more info. Dab on them folks)

Injuries

Sergey Karasev's out with a sore left ankle. Shane Larkin's out with a concussion. Thomas Robinson missed the last game due to an illness, and his status for tonight's contest is unknown.

Kevin Martin was dealing with a sore wrist this week, but he played on Friday and will be available today.

The game

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Minnesota

Record

7-19 10-16

Pace

98.19 98.39

Offensive Efficiency

97.6 102.2

Defensive Efficiency

104.1 103.6

Turnover Rate

15.5 15.1

Assist Rate

16 16

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.1 24.3

Rebound Rate

50.5 51.2

Free Throw Rate

22.6 33.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.5 48

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52 50.5

The Wolves are in a bit of an interesting spot. They're still rebuilding and a few years away from possibly being near the top of the Western Conference, but they're close enough that they can reach the eighth seed this year in a depleted West. They've had games they should've won that ultimately ended up in defeats. Sam Mitchell has kept his young club competitive, but with the passing of Flip Saunders and possibly a change in ownership coming soon, he may not be the permanent head coach in the future.

We're officially in trading season, and the Wolves are looking to make moves. They've reportedly put Kevin Martin on the block, and while he can still contribute, would be best suited on another club. There were reports last month that Shabazz Muhammad might be moved as well (the Nets were a team rumored to be looking into his availability), but nothing's come up on that front as of yet.

When you look at Minnesota's roster, it's easy to see why fans and observers are excited for their future. Ricky Rubio is a solid point guard that's a fine defender and does a great job of keeping his teammates involved in the flow of the game. The team is 3.9 points per 100 possessions better when he's on the court (tops on the team) and RR is top ten in both steals and assists per game. They've used Zach Lavine as the backup PG to mixed results so far. As he gets more experience running an offense, the better he'll be in the long term.

Fresh off his rookie of the year campaign, Andrew Wiggins is taking on a bigger role in the Wolves attack. His usage rate is up, he's getting to the free throw line more, he's shooting a bit better overall, and his turnovers are down. There's still room for improvement, as John Meyer of Canis Hoopus notes:

The harshest critics of Wiggins will be quick to point out his lack of rebounds and assists, how he can disappear for long stretches, and at times limits himself to playing the role of high-usage scorer and tough isolation defender. Any team would be crazy not to want that, but when talking about real tangible superstars there needs to consistent numbers across the board, and so the criticism is certainly fair when talking about a player many have already crowned as the next superstar NBA wing.

If/when Wiggins puts it all together, he has the potential to be one of the best players in the league. This afternoon, Joe Johnson will be the one drawn to the former number one pick. Outside of a few moments, it's been a consistent struggle for Johnson this year. He's shooting career lows from the field + three point line and is turning it over at the second highest rate of his career. Wiggins is a pretty good defender so don't be surprised if Johnson's struggles continue.

Player to watch: Karl Anthony Towns

When you're a lottery pick, a lot of expectations are placed upon you. You're joining a team that struggled the year before and you're expected to be one of the people that will help turn things around. Luckily for Towns, he joined a team that is filled with solid veterans that can help him as he develops. While Kevin Garnett may be a bit of an asshole, he will take young players under his wing and help them grow. He did it with Mason Plumlee when they were in Brooklyn, and he's doing it with KAT. With Garnett winding down his career, he'll be leaving the franchise in good hands with Towns and Wiggins.

On the court, Towns has been terrific thus far. He was Rookie of the Month for October/November and his rookie stats are pretty comparable to some of the best big men in league history. He finishes well at the rim, can stretch the floor with his shooting, and has shown a willingness to learn and incorporate lessons he receives from the vets on his squad into his game. He presents a variety of matchup problems for opposing teams, and as he gets even better, those problems will become even more pronounced.

Brook Lopez will get another chance to match up with another up and coming big man. He played well against Miami's Hassan Whiteside on Wednesday but had difficulty against Orlando's Nikola Vucevic on Monday. Like Vucevic, Towns can draw Lopez away from the basket with his jump shot. The Nets should look into having Thaddeus Young defend KAT at certain points in this game.

From the Vault

We miss you, Flip.

More reading: Canis Hoopus