Kevin Love’s grandmother recently passed away, and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star power forward will miss the team’s match against the defending champion Miami Heat. Love will take the time off to mourn the loss with his family. Love’s absence will hurt the Wolves’ chances against the Heat, but having a skilled, traditional big man in Nikola Pekovic means that the Wolves will still have the chance to pound the Heat down low.
Dante Cunningham, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and maybe even Gorgui Dieng or Robbie Hummel could see additional minutes tonight. Love’s rebounding prowess would have given the Wolves a distinct advantage against the Heat, who are one of the NBA’s worst rebounding teams, which really killed them in their recent games against the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons.
The Heat will likely use their small ball lineup for most of the game, and it will be interesting to see how coach Rick Adelman responds with his own lineup. Cunningham is probable to start, but Adelman could use the smaller Mbah a Moute heavily, as he is known as a defensive stopper.
Look for a big night from Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin, as using size and three point shooting will be key for the Wolves tonight. Watch the matchup between Lebron James, Corey Brewer and Mbah a Moute too, as slowing down the game’s best player will be key. Dwyane Wade is questionable, and if he doesn’t play, it would level the playing field a bit, but the Wolves will still treat this as a big game. A Timberwolves win against the defending champs without their star player to get back to .500 would be huge tonight.