If you’re a high-level or elite scorer, you might begin salivating when you see the Timberwolves on the schedule.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving scored 50 on opening night. D’Angelo Russell put up 52 and on Friday night, Wizards guard Bradley Beal went for 44 as Washington came away with a 137-116 victory over the Wolves.
And look at who’s up next on the schedule Saturday -- Rockets guard James Harden, the league’s leading scorer who is averaging 38.7 points per game. The first two the Wolves could live with because they came in wins, but Beal torched them and they Wolves couldn’t compensate in other areas, especially with Andrew Wiggins absent to be with family following the death of his grandmother.
Beal was especially harmful to the Wolves during the third quarter, when he scored 16 points to help the Wizards build a 10-point lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Wolves coach Ryan Saunders was asked if there was anything to the Wolves allowing these type of performances.
“They’re all talented players,” Saunders said. “There are also differences too. Beal didn’t get a lot of his off pick-and-rolls. He got off his catch-and-shoot and miscommunications, and defensive breakdowns. I felt we had a good game plan going into it. I think they executed at a high level.”
So what do the Wolves need to do to defend Harden on Saturday night?
“He’s probably the most talented scorer in the NBA,” guard Jeff Teague said. “He’s going to get to the free throw line. He’s going to make tough shots. We just got make him see a wall, see a lot of bodies. Just try to make it tough.”
Likely no Westbrook for Houston
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters that guard Russell Westbrook was likely to sit out Saturday’s game against the Wolves. Westbrook sat out the tail end of the Rockets’ first set of consecutive games this season and the Rockets played Indiana on Friday.
The Rockets will also have a few other missing players. Center Clint Capela will miss the game because of a concussion, the Houston Chronicle reported, while Eric Gordon is out for several weeks because of a knee injury.