Garnett Looks To Beat On Rapper Artest!
Fresh on the heels of the release of his debut studio album "My World" Sacramental Kings forward Ron Artest will stroll into the Target Center tonight and a date with the rejuvenated Minnesota Timberwolves and their marquee man Kevin Garnett. The opening line was listed as Minnesota -5, but some sharp action has seen that number take a dive to -3 ½ in most Betting shops.
The Kings will be without talented guard Mike Bibby who is nursing a thumb injury and they hope that free agent acquisition John Salmon from the 76ers will help fill that void. Artest, who is a one-time All-Star and was the 2003-04 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 16.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Kings last season. His intensity and hard-nosed defensive style has rubbed off on his teammates and has helped them become a tougher squad to compete against.
Two-time All-Star center Brad Miller had another solid season in 2005-06, as he averaged 15.0 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds, while forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who signed with the Kings as a free agent in August 2005, contributed 12.0 points and 5.3 boards per contest.
Minnesota could rebound big time from a disastrous 2005-2006 season, where they finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs for the second season in a row. All-Star forward Kevin Garnett is still the cornerstone of the franchise and management would like to win with him leading the way. The 30-year-old Garnett led the Timberwolves in scoring (21.8 ppg) and rebounding (12.7 rpg) during the 2005-06 campaign. He seems to have lost some of his passion and is visibly frustrated with the state of his squad.
If Minnesota, which lost in the 2003-04 Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Lakers the last time it was in the postseason, can start winning it would rejuvenate Garnett.
Ricky Davis, who was acquired from Boston during the season in a blockbuster trade that sent Wally Szczerbiak to the Celtics, is a solid player. Davis averaged 19.4 points in 78 games with Minnesota and Boston last season. The 6-7 Davis can play shooting guard or small forward and is currently Minnesota's second best scoring option, behind Garnett.
If you're Betting on the Wolves two keys will be free agent pickup guard Mike James who averaged over 20 points with the Raptors and first round draft pick Randy Foye from Villanova. Some NBA insiders are touting him as the rookie of the year.
Minnesota won two of three from the Kings last season. Sacramento has lost five of its last eight at the Timberwolves.
Sacramento has lost two straight season-openers, while the Timberwolves have won six in a row
The over/under is set at 185 and America's most popular online Betting shop www.sportingbetusa.com is waiting to hear from you!
About the Author: Bob is an experienced sports writer and handicapper who has written for the sports industry for over a decade. He has been a regular contributer to Sports Scene, a sports consultant for television's 33 Made and other major motion pictures.