Wizards-Timberwolves preview

Wizards-Timberwolves preview
March 6, 2013, 9:30 am
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Wizards vs. Timberwolves

at Target Center

TV: CSN, 8 p.m. ET

Season series: Wizards lead 1-0.

Last meeting: The Wizards won 114-101 on Jan. 25 in Washington. Six players reached double figures in scoring as the Wizards went on a 13-4 run before the half to take a 14-point lead they’d never relinquish.  Martell Webster made 3 of 4 three-point attempts.  It also was the first start for PG John Wall, who had returned from an injury to his left kneecap two weeks prior.

Previous game: At home, the Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 90-87 on Sunday to improve to 19-39; at home, the Timberwolves lost to the Miami Heat 97-81 on Monday to fall to 20-37. The Wizards lost SG Bradley Beal to a left ankle sprain and he appears unlikely to play Wednesday. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards – PG Wall, SG Garrett Temple, SF Martell Webster, PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor. Timberwolves – PG Ricky Rubio, SG Luke Ridnour, SF Mickael Gelabale, PF Derrick WIlliams, C Greg Stiemsma.

Matchup watch: Wall vs. Rubio. This will be two of the best young players at their position who can impact the game without scoring. When they met earlier in the season neither was at full strength. Rubio was working his way back from a torn knee ligament that ended his 2011-12 season. Wall was making his first start after returning just two weeks earlier because of a left knee cap injury. He played 21 minutes and had 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting with five assists. Rubio was just 1-for-8 for four points, six assists and five turnovers.

Trending upward: Okafor is having his best stretch of the season with consecutive double-doubles. Since Feb. 11, he has five and he has only failed to reach double-figure scoring once in that span.

Trending downward: Fs Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker started one game each last week Neither played Sunday vs. the Sixers.

He said it: “They are going to play a lot of small ball, get up and down the floor, a lot of penetration and pitching. We’re going to have to defend well off the dribble. Anytime you face a team that can score, we’ve got to make sure we come out right from the start from a defensive standpoint. … Everything else takes care of itself.” –- Wizards coach Randy Wittman on facing the Timberwolves.

Looking ahead: Friday at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30; Saturday vs. Charlotte Bobcats, 8; Tuesday at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7. All on CSN.