Advance-Scouting Mavs-at-Timberwolves

Our NBA scout Kyle Leath takes us inside tonight's Mavs-at-Timberwolves game with an Advance-Scouting look at Minnesota ... Our man Fish joins Bob Ortegel on the pre- and postgame studio shows starting at 5:30 tonight ... Come get informed!

It's Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves, 5:30 p.m. pregame tonight, 6 p.m. tip, and it comes with a theory (courtesy of reader Scott C): The Mavs could use some time on the road.

Oh, not as much as they could use actual practice time, of course. But it might help to get away from the home crowd and its high expectations. It might b e time to get some dinner out so Odom can hang out with Cardinal and Delonte can get to know Stotts and Chocolate Covered Almonds can break bread with Vince ...

Maybe it helps, too, that Minny isn't quite Miami. But here's where a roadie might be a goodie.

Your probable starters ...


F- Michael Beasley F- Shawn Marion

F- Kevin Love F- Dirk Nowitzki

C- Darko Milicic C- Brendan Haywood

G- Wes Johnson G- Vince Carter

G- Luke Ridnour G- Jason Kidd

Behind the Mike on Fox Sports Southwest ...

The gifted Mark Followill has the play-by-play, with Mavs legend Derek Harper alongside.

In the pre- and postgame, Dana Larson will be the full-time centerpiece of the telecasts, and her sidekicks will be the semi-iconic Bob Ortegel and ... me, Mike Fisher.


We're changing up some of the look and feel of the pregame show, led by director Matt Scales. We think you'll enjoy it!

The Overview ...

Minnesota is off to a 0-3 start, but they are a much improved team, especially offensively, than a year ago. ... They played OKC and Miami (both at home) down to the wire. ... Ricky Rubio is an unbelievable passer and has dramatically improved his shooting. ... Kevin Love is again one of the top players in the league, averaging 26 points and 16 rebounds. ... Their weakness at this point is again on the defensive end where they were near the bottom in 2010-11. However, with Rick Adelman at the helm, that SHOULD improve as the year moves along. ... JJB is nursing a hamstring injury.

The Timberwolves on Offense ...

• Half-court set is primarily a 1-2-2 set with the post at the elbow and shooters in corners. Will run a lot of pick/roll as well as pick/pop with Love involved.

• Will set staggered screens for shooters coming out of the corner.

• Transition is triggered by Rubio. Similar to Calderon from Toronto, he is not the fastest PG around but a deadly passer.

• Love will always be around for backside rebounds of missed shots, he must be blocked out.

• Like to clear out into a two-man game with guard and Love posted low.

The Timberwolves on Defense ...

• Weak defensive transition, however have played two of the most up tempo teams in the league, OKC and Miami

• Guards are not physical and do not guard the ball well.

•Attack their post. Milicic is not good when you get to his body.

The Stat Check ...

• Minnesota is 27th in the NBA in Opponents PPG at 101.6, one spot better than Dallas' 28th position at 102.5

• Minnesota is tied for 1st in the NBA in Opponents 3pt FG% at .217.

How to Beat The Timberwolves ...

• Attack their point guards. Take them into the post.

• Move ball on offense, making them play defense in the half-court.

• Keep Love off the glass.

• Be physical with Rubio/Ridnour on defense.

Kyle Leath, a long-time Mavs staffer, former college head coach and now scout for the Denver Nuggets, provides you with an NBA-style scouting report before Mavs games.

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