The Timberwolves have offered fans the chance to high-five two-time defending champions the Miami Heat when they face up to each other on December 7th, and it’s likely they’ll be the only stars slapping hands after tip-off too.
The Timberwolves have been in free-fall of late having only won one of their last five with a record that only tops the struggling Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz in the Western Conference. They’re leaking on average 102 points per game and have only kept the Pacers under the 110 mark since November 22.
Taking on the Heat at the Target Center, the Timberwolves will be looking forward to getting back to playing after the midweek debacle in Mexico City when a generator fire led to the Spurs and Wolves going home without even dribbling a ball.
And it could be just the break they needed. The defence will have had chance to regroup after a gruelling previous few weeks taking on league giants OKC, Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets before welcoming LeBron James to the court.
The Heat come into the game in much better form and will be buoyed by the fact the Timberwoves haven’t beaten them since February 2010. With 14 wins on the board the Florida side lie just behind the Pacers at second in the Eastern Conference, but clear favourites to win both the Conference and the Championship in the NBA betting stakes.
And why shouldn’t they? James continues to be at his imperious best averaging 25.7 points and 6.1 assists per game, whilst in recent weeks he’s been hitting the 30s regularly. They could however once again be without Dwayne Wade, who had to sit out the Bulls game with flu. Wade has been averaging close to 20 and has been teaming up superbly with King James and was missed on Thursday evening as they slipped to their second straight defeat.
It’s the first time they have suffered back-to-back losses all season which comes at a good time for the Wolves as they look to get their season back on track.
Three straight defeats for the champions would be unthinkable but in the last few games Kevin Martin has really upped his game scoring mid-to-late-20s in the last three games, which could see the Heat cooled once again. They are likely however to be without their star man, forward Kevin Love who sadly lost his grandmother on Wednesday evening. The 25-year-old didn’t train with the T-Wolves Friday and it’s unknown whether he will return for Saturday evening’s fixture.
It will be a major blow for the Minneapolis side who have often been carried by Love and if the crowd are more concerned about high-fiving LeBron than supporting their side, it could be a tough night both physically and mentally for the Western Conference strugglers.