The Wolves come into tonight's game, losers of six-straight. They're hoping a matchup with the Western Conference's worst team can get them back on track and give them just their second win in the last thirteen games!
The Wolves are 1-11 in their last 12 games, while the Hornets are 1-5 in their last 6 games. The Hornets had won 6 of 7 games during a stretch last month, however their defense as of late has been B-A-D. They've been allowing 104.8 points a game in their last eight games while losing six of those.
Historically the Hornets are 9-2 in their last 11 visits to the Target Center and are 4-2 overall in the last six total meetings. These two teams have met twice already this season, both in New Orleans. The first meeting (Dec. 14) the Wolves took 113-102 in a game where Nikola Pekovic scored a career-high 31pts on 14-of-18 shooting, and AK47 added 21. The second meeting came on Jan. 11th. Behind 18pts & 13ast from Greivis Vasquez, the Hornets won 92-104.
The Wolves come into tonight's contest 17-26, 11-9 at home, 10-15 vs. the West, 1-9 in their last 10 games and are currently ranked 12th in the West, 5.5 games out of the eighth and final seed. Minnesota's 6-game losing streak is a season-worst, the Wolves have also matched a season-worst with 3-straight home defeats. The Hornets are 15-32 on the year, 8-17 on the road, 8-22 vs. the West, losers of their last three games, 4-6 in their last 10 games and are currently 15th in the West, 9.5 games out of the eighth seed.
The Wolves continue to play without Kevin Love (hand) & Chase Budinger (knee). Both could/should be back within the next month or so. Brandon Roy (knees) recently suffered another setback. He says he'd be happy to come back and play in the last 15 games, but with each setback that becomes less and less likely. Malcolm Lee (knee/hip) underwent season-ending surgery mid-January.
The Hornets, on the other hand...are a team at full health. With no significant injuries, they'll have a full roster against the Wolves tonight.
Both of these teams played last night and both teams lost. The Hornets are coming off a 98-113 loss in Denver. They were outscored 62-50 in the second half that lead to the 15-point win. Ryan Anderson finished with 21pts, 2reb, 1stl, 1blk and Anthony Davis, Greivis Vasquez & Robin Lopez all had 13pts each.
The Wolves are coming off a loss to the Lakers. They dug themselves a HUGE hole in the first quarter when the Lakers shot near 70% from the field (in the 1st Q). They found themselves down at 29 points at one point, but were able to cut that to just 4 in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get any closer losing 100-111.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a BIG advantage in the paint and I wouldn't be surprised to see a 25 & 15 kind of night from Nikola Pekovic. The Hornets don't have anyone on their roster that can contain Pek, with just four frontcourt players: Davis, Lopez, Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith. The Hornets have a decent backcourt with Vasquez & Gordon. Greivis burned the Wolves multiple times with his slashing and dishing in their last matchup, hopefully Ricky can show why he's a great perimeter defender in this one.
If the Wolves want to win this one, they need to step up defensively. They've been solid offensively these last two games, but their defense has been absolutely putrid. If they can't get stops, you can expect this losing streak to continue being extended, night after night.
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 7pmCT, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!