Depleted roster or not, these Minnesota Timberwolves have shown that no matter what the number of healthy players they have is--they're going to go out every night and compete. That's thanks in large part to the Wolves' MVP thus far: Andrei Kirilenko. AK47 has shown off his magnificent all-around game and done whatever needs to, to secure a Wolves win.
They'll be facing one of last seasons worst squads, the Charlotte Bobcats. The 'Cats have made some improvements this offseason, however that won't keep them out of the lottery in 2012-13. During the summer, Charlotte hired a new head coach: Mike Dunlap, drafted forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd overall) and Jeffrey Taylor (31st overall) in the 2012 NBA Draft, claimed center Brendan Haywood off amnesty waivers (after he was amnestied by Dallas), traded Corey Maggette to the Detroit Pistons for sharpshooter Ben Gordon, signed free agent point guard Ramon Sessions AND just yesterday (11/13) they traded shooting guard Matt Carroll to the New Orleans Hornets for forward Hakim Warrick.
The Timberwolves are 5-2 on the season, 3-0 at the Target Center and 3-2 vs. Eastern Conference opponents. The Bobcats are 3-3 on the year, 0-2 on the road and 1-3 vs. Western Conference opponents.
Minnesota's last game was on Monday night in Dallas when they defeated the Mavericks, 90-82. Despite having just ten healthy players at tipoff and nine healthy guys by the final horn, Minnesota was propelled by big games from five guys: Nikola Pekovic (20pts, 6reb, 3ast, 1stl), Andrei Kirilenko (16pts, 11reb, 2ast, 2stls, 2blks), Alexey Shved (16pts, 4reb, 5ast, 3blks), Luke Ridnour (15pts, 8reb, 7ast, 4stls) and Dante Cunningham (14pts, 8reb, 2ast).
Charlotte's last game was on Tuesday night in Charlotte when they defeated the winless Wizards, 92-76. The Bobcats easily took down the Wizards (who are now 0-6 on the year) thanks to the Wizards' offensive lapses in the 2nd quarter (scoring just 12pts) and 4th quarter (15pts). Backup point guard Ramon Sessions finished with 21pts, 5reb, 2ast, shot 7-for-18 in just 30 bench min.; Kemba Walker added 17pts, 3reb, 2ast, 2stls and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished the night with 15pts, 8reb, 2ast and 1blk, while shooting 6-of-11 from the field and playing just 27 minutes.
Let's take a look at the injuries for both squads...
INJURIES for MIN: This could take a minute. Kevin Love (OUT-broken hand), Ricky Rubio (OUT-rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery), Chase Budinger (OUT-recovering from reconstructive meniscus surgery), J.J. Barea (OUT-mid-foot sprain), Brandon Roy (OUT-sore right knee) and Nikola Pekovic (OUT-sprained ankle). That means the Minnesota Timberwolves will have just nine healthy players!
INJURIES for CHA: Gerald Henderson (OUT-foot sprain). Sharpshooter Ben Gordon missed Charlotte's last game vs. the Wizards for 'personal reasons'.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been able to remain competitive is thanks to their great defense. The Timberwolves currently have the #2 overall defense in the NBA allowing just 88.4ppg, tonight they'll be facing the Bobcats who average 98.5ppg (10th in the NBA). While the Bobcats have a Top 10 offense, they have one of the worst defenses in the NBA allowing 102ppg (28th in the NBA).
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
Malcolm Lee will get his 2nd straight NBA start and the 2nd of his career, while Greg Stiemsma will get his first NBA start in a TWolves uniform and his 4th overall career start.
Tonight's matchup of the game will be Andrei Kirilenko vs. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Both players have gotten off to tremendous starts to begin this season. Kirilenko should be able to slow the rookie down and continue to show his incredible all-around game.
That's all for now, tipoff for this one is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center a full gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!