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Game On: Hornets @ Timberwolves
The Hornets face a lose-lose proposition tonight, as they can’t but help to negatively impact their ping pong balls in the upcoming draft Lottery. Still, I give you the keys to victory.
Injuries will have a lot to do with tonight’s result, as the Hornets are on the verge of getting back Landry – and possibly Smith and Okafor. Perhaps, however, the biggest injury is that of young phenom Ricky Rubio of the Timberwolves, who tore his ACL yesterday. I hate being in a position where I’m pleased by injuries. Bleh.
Timberwolves All-star Kevin Love, who missed last night’s game with back spasms, will return tonight.
Keys to Victory:
- Limit the fouls. Tonight is a bit of Nuggets Redux for the Hornets. The two teams play very similarly – though the Nuggets are a bit more extreme in certain categories. The biggest similarity, however, is where the two teams get their scoring edge: The free throw line. The Timberwolves are top five in the league at drawing free throws, and bottom 10 in giving away free throws. The Hornets need to defend without fouling to negate this advantage.
- You’d think a team with “Love and a Pek” (Pekovic) would dominate the boards in general, but the Wolves are only slightly above the league average as rebounders. Their reserves and wing players are particularly lame at grabbing boards, and that should let the Hornets’ hustle players in Thomas, Aminu, and Ayon (maybe) get their chances for easy putbacks.
- Jump the passing lanes. The Wolves turn the ball over at an above average rate. Take advantage of that sloppiness.
Enjoy the game!
Oh, and I apologize for “Love and a Pek”.