Timberwolves-Nets Preview

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Owner Mikhail Prokhorov stole the show at the Brooklyn Nets' home opener, finally directing comments toward former coach Jason Kidd. New coach Lionel Hollins, though, seems to be doing just fine. He and the Nets look for their third straight win Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hollins has taken over after Brooklyn (2-1) wouldn't give Kidd more power within the organization after one season at the helm, trading him to Milwaukee during the offseason. "I think there is a nice proverb in English: Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord has split you," Prokhorov said before the Nets' 116-85 home-opening win over Oklahoma City on Monday. "So, like I think each side did what we thought was the best, and I like what we have now. "I think we shouldn't get mad, I think we should get even." Hollins, who led Memphis to the best season in Grizzlies history with 56 wins and a conference finals appearance in 2013, has the Nets in position for their best four-game start since opening 3-1 in 2007-08. Maybe just as notable as Prokhorov's remarks Monday was the return of Brook Lopez, who tied for the team lead with 18 points in his first game since Dec. 20. "I can't put it in words," said Lopez, who underwent foot surgery last season. "It was great to be back out there. I've missed it for a long time." Lopez, who averaged 20.7 points in 17 games last season, adds a significant boost to Brooklyn's already productive offense. The Nets rank near the top of the NBA with 107.7 points per game and 49.8 percent shooting. Brooklyn split two meetings with Minnesota last season, although the Timberwolves now tout a far different roster thanks to the three-team trade that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland. All three players they received in the deal are playing significant roles. Thaddeus Young is averaging 17.7 points, No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins has started all three games and 2013 top overall pick Anthony Bennett has played well off the bench. While Bennett has averaged 8.3 points on 63.2 percent shooting in 16.0 minutes per game, Wiggins averages 24.3 minutes but is scoring 7.3 per game and shooting 37.5 percent. The former Kansas star also cost Minnesota with a rookie mistake last time out. Wiggins bit on a pump fake with 0.2 seconds left and fouled Chicago's Jimmy Butler, who made the decisive free throws to hand the Timberwolves a 106-105 defeat. "I could've changed the outcome of the game," Wiggins said. "It was a learning experience for me. It hurt, but the good thing about the NBA, I've got another game in a couple days." Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin stand as two of the remaining familiar faces for the Timberwolves (1-2), who kick off a three-game road trip Wednesday. "I think it's going to be great for us," Martin said. "... A lot of times, you don't get these kind of road trips until January or February, but we have one right away. It's going to be a big test for us, but it's a time where we all can come together." Martin had one of his best performances in a Minnesota uniform with 33 points against Chicago. Rubio, who received a four-year extension Friday, tied a career high with 17 assists. Young is likely to play despite a scary collision Saturday, when he took an inadvertent elbow to the head shortly before halftime and remained down on the court for more than 10 minutes. He went through concussion tests Sunday and was a full participant in practice Monday.