The Charlotte Bobcats are riding a franchise-record 15-game losing streak. The Timberwolves are riding a season-high 4-game losing streak. Wednesday's matchup with Charlotte seems to be the ideal game for the Wolves to get back on track!
The Bobcats have won five straight over the Minnesota Timberwolves, but this isn't as talented a Bobcat team as a year ago and this is a different TWolves team. The odds to seem to tip in favor of Minnesota. The Wolves' last win over Charlotte came on March 14, 2009, with a final: 108-100.
The Bobacats have won just three games this season, while losing another 25! The Timberwolves have won thirteen games this season, but since reaching a record of 13-12 (moving above .500), the Wolves have dropped four straight.
A big part of the Bobcats' struggles this season are injuries to some of their best players. Corey Maggette missed 19 games between January 6th to February 7th with a strained left hamstring. He returned in the Bobcats' last game vs. the 76ers and scored 22 points. Point Guard D.J. Augustin has been out since January 22nd with a toe injury. Shooting Guard Gerald Henderson has missed 7 of the last 10 games, dealing with hamstring & back injuries. Those three guys right there are the team's starting guards and small forward, so, it's no wonder the Bobcats have won just 3 games this year.
Bobcats head coach Paul Silas has said that Augustin will likely play vs. the TWolves. Gerald Henderson isn't expected back on Wednesday, however.
I'd expect a starting lineup for the Charlotte Bobcats of either D.J. Augustin or Kemba Walker as the starting point guard, Reggie Williams, Corey Maggette, Boris Diaw or Tyrus Thomas at power forward and either DeSagana Diop or Bismack Biyombo at center. That really leaves things open, huh? With either D.J. or Kemba, it just depends if Silas decides D.J. should instantly return to the starting lineup, or he may decide to start them both to match up with the Timberwolves' starting point guards backcourt (Luke was at practice on Tuesday and is expected to remain a starter). At the power forward and center, it just depends on how Charlotte feels they can match up with Minnesota's frontcourt of Love & Pekovic. I'd expect a starting frontcourt of Thomas & Diop. That seems to be a good matchup, with an athletic big like Thomas on Love and another big body on the Wolves' emerging star center: PEK!
The Timberwolves recalled Malcolm Lee from the D-League and he participated in his first practice with the team on Tuesday (2/14). Lee says the knee is at about 90%, but does still swell up some. Adelman says he won't be playing with the Wolves anytime soon and almost certainly sees another stint in the D-League in his future as he tries to work back into playing shape and learning Adelman's offense.
If Minnesota doesn't win this one, I'd begin to hit the panic button. If we can't defeat a team that has just three wins all season long, we may never win a game again. It's hard, almost, not to look past this game. To almost chalk it up as a win. However, if the players come in with that kind of attitude, the Bobcats are a very capable team of bringing them back down to earth VERY quickly and sending Minnesota to a 5th straight loss. Like they say: "Any Given Night!"
The Wolves just need to get back to playing basketball. The shots haven't been falling which is leading to guys trying to do too much--which then leads to some of the gaudy turnover numbers we've seen the past few games. Remain confident in your team and execute the offense, that's really all you can ask for. A defensive stop or two would help as well, of course.
That's all for now. Enjoy the game and check back in with us at the final horn for a gameday recap, pictures, videos & stats from the game. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!