Hawks-Timberwolves Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 07, 2013
Love84034369
Losing Kevin Love to injury leaves a huge hole in the Minnesota Timberwolves' lineup, but coach Rick Adelman can't afford for his team to wait for the All-Star forward to return. Now, it's uncertain when Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic will be back. Point guard Ricky Rubio, though, is expected to return from his injury on Tuesday night when the host Timberwolves try to end an 11-game losing streak to the Atlanta Hawks. After missing the first three weeks of the season with a broken right hand, Love re-fractured that hand in Thursday's 101-97 victory at Denver. Love - averaging 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds - will visit a hand specialist in New York City this week, and the Timberwolves (15-14) will learn if he'll need surgery. "The league doesn't stop for you, there's nobody coming over the mountain for us, it's who we've got right now,'' Adelman said after Saturday's 102-97 home loss to Portland. "And that's what we have to do, and everybody has to step up.'' Without Love, Pekovic - along with Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams - becomes an even more critical part to the Timberwolves' inside game. However, the third-year center, who is averaging career highs with 15.9 points and 8.3 boards, left Saturday's game in the third quarter with a left hip strain. Pekovic did not practice Monday and is day-to-day. Rubio, though, went through that workout and is expected to return for the first time in five games. The Spanish point guard has been battling back spasms that Adelman said could be the result of overcompensating for a knee injury that caused him to miss the first 20 games this season and the final 25 of 2011-12. The Timberwolves, who open a four-game trip on Wednesday against Oklahoma City, will try to build some momentum for that stretch with their first victory over Atlanta since an 84-83 home win on April 9, 2006. While the Hawks (20-12) have won five in a row at Minnesota since that defeat, coach Larry Drew isn't feeling confident about his team's play after it was outscored 33-9 in the third quarter of Saturday's 89-81 loss to Boston. Atlanta led by as many as 19 in the second period before suffering its third setback in four games. "When you play against teams that do smack you, you have to respond. It's just the way it is. Everybody has to do it. Every team is the league has to do it," said Drew, whose team rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit to defeat visiting Minnesota 93-91 on Jan. 14. "And when you don't do it, you get labeled, you get a tag on you. And that's the last thing I want to happen to my ball club." The possible return of Anthony Morrow (strained right hip) and Devin Harris (sore left foot) from injury could help Drew's club. Morrow, who has missed the last five games, and Harris, who has been sidelined for the last 10, will travel with the team as it also plays Cleveland on Wednesday night.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ray Rice still hoping to play in NFL in 2016?

Report: Malcolm Butler seeking new contract before season

Rex Ryan still angry with Mario Williams over criticism

Report: Thunder players critical of Durant, Westbrook after loss

Klay Thompson felt he should have made more three-pointers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Steven Adams makes a monster dunk on Draymond Green

WATCH: Noah Syndergaard tossed after throwing behind Chase Utley

White Sox in talks to acquire James Shields from Padres

NBA player shot and killed after reportedly breaking into apartment

Dodgers send top prospect back to minors after one game

DeRozan: ‘My mindset has always been Toronto’

WATCH: Golfer goes crazy after winning BMW with hole-in-one

WATCH: Manziel confronted by owner of rental car company

Giants positioning themselves for another World Series run

Athletes who served in the United States military

WATCH: Warriors owner bowed down to Klay Thompson

Baylor QB recruit hints that he could decommit

WATCH: Edelman screams 'free Brady!' at Boston concert

Six NFL players who will cash out big in final year of contract

Baylor QB Russell's Instagram post about program on return from mission trip

Titans' Walker not friends with rookies until they make team

Lue had vulgar reaction to Blatt firing, urged team to reconsider

Would trading Okafor or Noel make sense for the 76ers?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How expanded instant replay has hurt the NBA

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Every time an NBA team came back from a 3-1 deficit (and what it means for the Warriors)

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Sniping quotes highlight NHL conference finals animosity

QUIZ: Name every NBA franchise's original incarnation

The 15 biggest playoff upsets in NBA history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker