So how even is a match between the “Old and Slow” Lakers and Minnesota, when neither Deee-Wight nor Kevin Love will play? Not really even at all – at home, the Timberolves should win a fairly close game.
A healthy Minnesota team is a really good young squad which would have easily made the playoffs. Significant injuries to Brandon Roy, Rickey Rubio, Chase Budinger, Malcolm Lee, and most significantly Love, and more recent less serious injuries to Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved have destroyed their season. But the team they will put on the court tonight against LA is still more athletic and more cohesive than LA.
Pekovic has had an excellent season establishing himself as the ‘Wolves center a year after the likes of Darko Milicic and Brad Miller were ahead of him on the depth chart. Andrei
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|Kirilenko has had a big comeback season after missing all of last year and parts of the previous two while still in Utah. Rubio is finally getting his health and game together almost a year after tearing two knee ligaments in a game against the Lakers last March. Shved has been one of the league’s top rookies and did a great job playing for Rubio earlier in the year. With his court time reduced due to Rubio’s return and his own injury problems, Shved is one of those guys who goes out there for his 20 minutes and gives it everything he’s got, unlike anyone on the Lakers’ bench.|
Even with Pau Gasol apparently now back in the starting lineup replacing Howard, Minnesota’s starters Pekovic, Kirilenko, Rubio, Luke Ridnour, and the immensely talented Derrick Williams are almost on a par with what the Lakers are putting out there, and Minnesota still clearly has the bench advantage with JJ Barea, Dante Cunningham, Mickael Gelabale et al, even with Roy, Lee, Budinger, and Love all sidelined.
So, 19 straight and the latest “New Start” that began four games ago and ended in Phoenix were all nice topics for talk radio, but reality is reality, and the Lakers will be taking a two game losing streak with them to Detroit on Sunday.