The Wolves are in Miami, hours after suffering a horrendous, inexcusable loss against the Magic. Tonight we face the Heat. On NBATV. Without Rubio. The odds aren't in our favor. Might as well pull a Popovich and just start Lou Amundson and a hurt Lee. But, after the atrocious second half last night I think it is safe to say the Wolves are plenty rested. In all seriousness, what it will take to win:
1. AK47 playing out of his mind defensively. As if he hasn't already. AK47 has LeBron, Durant, and Melo to deal with his next three games. Think about that for a minute. Here's to you AK. You are officially the most important player on the court.
2. Getting the right players in foul trouble. The Wolves are quietly among the top teams at getting to the line. It is a good thing too, and the key to early season success. With the shots doing everything but falling, the Wolves' superb ability to get to the line has been the saving grace. Sadly, the Heat's firepower all comes from outside. Adelman should run plays that pack the lane and do whatever on God's green earth you can to get the ref's to buy into the "Minnesota should win tonight on the road in Miami" storyline. If only Rubio were playing to help convince them of the merits of such a story.
3. Love having an outlier game. I'm talking a 35-20 game. With even scoring through 4 quarters. Not a hot start, but a consistent, amazing night. He needs it. The team needs it in order to have a prayer.
4. Good free throw shooting. 75+% from the fouls the Wolves will have to draw in order to stay in it.
5. A big night from Pek. Interior scoring. Again, it's the only way. This team is not winning games on the perimeter these days.
6. An unsung hero off the bench. I nominate Barea and Williams. One of those two needs a 15+ point night off the bench against the weaker 2nd unit of Miami.
Do all that, and we stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning this game. But given it's Miami, I would rather Adelman saves whatever this team has for a gigantic game on Thursday against the Thunder at home on TNT.
Prediction: Wolves fall easily, although stranger things have happened in Miami.