http://www.startribune.com/gameday-preview-miami-at-wolves/340560161/7 P.M. VS. Miami • Target Center • FSN-plus; 830-am
Preview: Coming off their first loss of the season on the night Flip Saunders was memorialized, the Wolves take on a Miami team that, when healthy, is very much an Eastern Conference playoff contender. After using defense and timely scoring to win their first two games, the Wolves allowed Portland to shoot 46.1 percent in Monday’s loss, a game in which the Wolves took a 17-point first-quarter lead. The Heat has started the season 2-2, including a victory over Houston in which Miami overcame a 21-point deficit.
Players to watch: Rookie C Karl-Anthony Towns is first among rookies in shooting percentage (57.9) and rebounds (10.3) and second to Jahlil Okafor in scoring (17.7). SG Kevin Martin has come off the bench to lead the team in scoring (20.3); Martin was excused from Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons, but is expected to play against Miami. PG Ricky Rubio is also averaging a double-double, scoring 17.7 points with a league-leading 10.3 assists. Miami’s big three may have changed a bit, but it’s still pretty good. Dwyane Wade (21.5 ppg) is still elite at shooting guard and PG Goran Dragic (11.5, 5.0 assists) gives the Heat a very good backcourt. F Chris Bosh has opened the season averaging 14.0 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Numbers: The two teams split two games last season; Minnesota’s one-point victory at home Feb. 4 was the first home win vs. Miami since 2008. This game is the first of four straight vs. Eastern Conference teams for the Wolves. Wade has scored 20 or more points in all four games for the Heat. This is one of just three road games the Heat will play in November.
Injuries: Wolves C Nikola Pekovic (Achilles tendon surgery) is out. Miami G Gerald Green (hospitalized) is out, and F Amar’e Stoudemire (rehab/recovery) is questionable. Green, the former Timberwolf who missed Tuesday’s game against Atlanta with what was described as an illness, was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons after an incident in which police were summoned to his residence.