New Orleans Hornets (14-41) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (25-31)
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Last game: Minnesota: L, 97-94 vs Golden State, New Orleans: L, 128-103 vs San Antonio
On Wednesday, the Wolves managed to drop a game to a team that is actively trying to lose for a better draft pick. Wayne Ellington scored 17 on 7-11 shooting off the bench, but four Warrior starters scored in double figures as Golden State rallied from a big first half deficit to get the win.
The Hornets were convincingly beaten by the Spurs on Friday night despite Eric Gordon’s 31 points. It was Gordon’s third game back from a knee injury that has forced him to miss all but four of New Orleans’ games this season.
The Key Questions
#1. What will Michael Beasley be able to contribute?
Beasley, along with Pek and Barea, should be in uniform tonight. Beasley’s toe, according to a Jerry Zgoda report, is feeling somewhat better, but he will still have to wear a shoe one size too big. Hopefully Beas isn’t rushing to come back from this injury.
#2. Can the Timberwolves capitalize on the extended rest?
Minnesota had two consecutive nights off. New Orleans faced the red-hot Spurs last night. If rest has anything to do with this game, the Wolves should be able to get a win tonight.
#3. I know this is cheating, but should you read Sebastian Pruiti’s breakdown of Kevin Love’s offensive game?
Yes. Yes you should. Fascinating stuff, with a nice little note at the bottom that should be very encouraging for T-Wolves fans.
The Key Matchups
The return of Eric Gordon should be a frightening prospect for Timberwolves fans. The Hornets managed to grind out a win against the Wolves last time these teams met, and Minnesota was less banged up then. Admittedly, the Wolves were reeling from the news that their sensational rookie point guard was done for the year, but Eric Gordon’s return spells trouble the Minnesota. Wes Johnson will more than likely get the assignment. Gordon has picked up right where he left off last year in his return, averaging 22.7 points in three games.
Chris Kaman inexplicably survived the trade deadline in New Orleans. His field goal percentage is as low as it has ever been, but his points per 36 minutes is the third highest in his career, and his rebounds have stayed steady at 9.8. Fortunately for Minnesota, Pekovic is in the lineup and reportedly feeling much better, coming back from a sickness as well as his ankle injury.
It’s difficult to predict how the Wolves will perform from game to game. Tonight is no exception. On the road, against a team that they should be able to beat, don’t be entirely surprised if the Wolves suffer a frustrating let-down. The Hornets will have a little extra motivation to beat the Wolves as well, since New Orleans owns Minnesota’s 2012 draft pick. Sigh.
Game starts at 7 PM on League Pass.