Posted: 1/19/2013 11:23:00 AM
5 units: Houston -3 @ Minnesota
4 units: 1st Half Houston -2 @ Minnesota
Minnesota recently is excelling in only one category, injuries. Kevin Love is already out for an extended period of time, now Pekovic, their only solid starter goes down is listed as out indefinitely, and Alexey Shved looks like he'll miss tonights game with an ankle injury.
The injuries have just gotten past the point of fighting through them for Minnesota. Their D has been the biggest casualty of that, dropping from 5th in defensive efficiency in mid December, to 28th in January. Pekovic being out means they lose their best post defender and rebounder meaning the defensive side of things can only get worse.
With Pekovic out Minnesota is going to rely on a frontcourt of Dante Cunningham, Derrick Williams, Lou Amundson, and Greg Stiemsa. That's just not going to win you many games in the NBA as 3 of those 4 guys wouldn't make roster on a number of NBA teams.
With Ahved out, Minnesota is stuck rostering only Andrei Kirilenko and Malcolm Lee at SF and SG, no backups, meaning the PG trio of Ridnour, Rubio, and Barea, all undersized pgs at best will have to take some time at SG.
Not a good sign with a high scoring Houston team coming to down. Houston has dropped 6 straight as they've played 5 of their last 6 games on the road, with their only home game coming in a tough spot on the front night of a B2B vs the LAC. 6 straight losses is tough but all losses came against solid teams. @IND, @DAL, @PHI, @BOS, @NO and the previously mentioned home game to the Clippers. Houston is going to be hungry to finally get back in the win column.
Houston's MO has been fairly consistent this year, push the tempo, score the ball, but really don't pay much attention to the defensive end. This has hurt them against teams that either
a) defend well (IND, BOS, NO)
b) score well and play some semblance of defence. (LAC)
Minnesota is neither of these teams. They're a team right now that can't defend and can't score. I don't see how they matchup with the depth or talent of Houston, and don't see how they score anywhere near 100 points to keep pace.