The gist: The T’Wolves dropped a 108-98 decision at the Energy Solutions Arena a day after escaping Staples Center with a 101-98 win thanks to back-to-back triples from Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. They host the Rockets, who are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the longest active winning streak at six games. Their six consecutive wins is also their longest in four years.
Key matchup: Kyle Lowry vs Ricky Rubio
One has surprised the league, while the other one is living up to the hype. Lowry continues to burn the stats sheets and flirt with triple-doubles while Rubio has engineered a supreme passing game that has more than compensated for his lack of athleticism.
X-factor: Goran Dragic
The Rocket’s spitfire backup has been very heady, posting 14 points and four assists against the Spurs. With loaded T’Wolves relievers like J.J. Barea and Wayne Ellington, the Dragon has to step it up on Chinese New Year.
Code Red: Watch out for the Tar Heel. Since Ellington was made into a sixth man six games ago, he has averaged 10.7 points on 61.3% shooting. Michael Beasley remains on the mend with a sprained right foot. Jonny Flynn will be dressed but it is uncertain whether he will face his former team.