The Brooklyn Nets must continue to not take any opponents for granted this late in the season. They have a goal in mind to make the playoffs, so to take any days off will be the same as running into a brick wall full speed.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are a tough team despite their 36-35 record. Kevin Love is having another great season, while Kevin Martin has quietly been a good second option for the Wolves. Ricky Rubio is having another inconsistent year and just can’t seem to be an offensive force for the team. This will hurt his position as the team’s future starting point guard if he continues to average only nine points a game.
The Nets are coming off a much-needed win against the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night after suffering back-to-back overtime losses earlier in the week. The Nets are currently in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, and are looking to move up further. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce have performed great down the stretch for the Nets, but the absence of Kevin Garnett has hurt the team’s defense.
The Nets’ interior defense will be seating bullets when they see Love posted up on the blocks, maybe against a smaller Pierce. Mason Plumlee will have his hands full guarding Nikola Pekovic at the center position, and will have to keep him off the glass if the Nets have a shot at winning this game.
The Nets have struggles all season on the glass, and the Timberwolves will push their bigs to the limit in the paint. The perimeter is a must win for the Nets and their group of outside shooters. With Marcus Thornton back in the lineup, the Nets will have a consistent threat from the three point line.
This will be a game of wills between two teams going in different directions. One is fighting for a playoff spot, while the other is planning for a vacation at season end. No matter their position and place in the standings, the Nets cannot afford to look past the Timberwolves, or they could suffer their third defeat in four games.