The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive and a matchup with the struggling Bobcats--might just do the trick.
A loss to the Bobcats tonight, would be Minnesota's 5th-straight loss at Time Warner Cable Arena. This obviously isn't the same Bobcats team 'of old'. Gone are Stephen Jackson (San Antonio), Boris Diaw (San Antonio) & Gerald Wallace (New Jersey) and gone are their playoff hopes in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota is 1-6 all-time vs. the Bobcats in Charlotte.
Hopefully a matchup with Charlotte will be enough to get them 'back on track'. Minnesota began March by winning three of its first four games. Since then, the TWolves have dropped eight of their last eleven and have fallen out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Yesterday's loss to Memphis was Minnesota's sixth loss in seven games away from the Target Center.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently 24-27 on the season, 11-15 on the road and 3-7 in their last ten games. The Charlotte Bobcats are 7-40 on the year, 4-18 at home and 2-8 in their last ten games. Charlotte is also the only team that has won fewer than ten games this season!
Minnesota will be without Nikola Pekovic (for a 5th-straight game) and J.J. Barea (for a 3rd-straight game). Nikola is out with bone spurs in his right ankle. Because of them he overcompensated and his left ankle is also now in pain. J.J. Barea is dealing with a thigh contusion (bruise). It's sounding as though both players could return for the TWolves hom game--Friday vs. the Celtics.
For the Bobcats they currently have two of their reserves dealing with injuries. Eduardo Najera is currently listed as day-to-day with a knee injury. DeSagana Diop is also listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Both players missed Charlotte's game on Monday vs. the Celtics. Both are listed as questionable for tonight's game.
The Bobcats' last game was a 102-96 loss to the Boston Celtics. Gerald Henderson had 21pts and Derrick Brown & Byron Mullens came off the bench for big games--Brown w/16pts & 7ast--B.J. w/18pts & 7reb. Paul Pierce was a key to the Celtics' W as he went off for a season-high 36pts. Charlotte went out and competed and gave themselves a chance to win--which is all you can ask for.
Kevin Love just may be more than enough to down Charlotte. In 14 games this month, Love is averaging 30.6ppg. In his three career games in Charlotte, however, Love is being held to 11.7ppg & 8.7rpg. However, in the last two meetings vs. Charlotte, Love has totaled 65 points & 33 rebounds (both games in Minnesota).
Let's take a look at the starting lineups tonight...
Luke Ridnour vs. D.J. Augustin (11.3ppg, 6.1apg, 0.8spg)
Martell Webster vs. Gerald Henderson (14.5ppg, 2.2apg, 0.9spg)
Wesley Johnson vs. Corey Maggette (15ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.1apg)
Derrick Williams vs. Tyrus Thomas (5.9ppg, 4.2rpg. 1.4bpg)
Kevin Love vs. Bismack Biyombo (4.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.8bpg)
I'm not 100% certain this will be Charlotte's starting lineup. You can be sure that they'll start Henderson at shooting guard, Maggette at small forward and Biyombo at center. At point guard it will be either D.J. or Kemba Walker.
That's all for now. Tipoff is set for 6pmCT from Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. You can find a full gameday recap of this one following the final horn. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!