Game On: Timberwolves @ Hornets

Published: December 14, 2012

The Timberwolves depart the frozen wastes, looking for prey in warmer climes.

The Timberwolves have been suffering from injuries this year, as Love missed the first month, Rubio hasn’t played yet, Budinger got all of six games under his belt before knee surgery and Brandon Roy’s knees seized up and shut him down.

Despite that, the team stands at about .500 and with Love rounding into form and Rubio on the cusp of returning, are poised to be make a run in the Western conference.  It’s not a team far removed from the one that seemed playoff-worthy from last year – except they’ve replaced two of the worst wings in the game – Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson – with an all-Russian duo, the rejuvenated Andrei Kirilenko and the clever Alexey Shved.  Their athleticism helps on the edges, and as a result the Wolves have sported the 4th best defense in the NBA to date, making up for some offensive struggles.

Keys to the Game

  • The Wolves’ defense has few weaknesses.  They allow the 5th worst effective field goal percentage, have the sixth highest defense rebound rate, and allow the 2nd lowest number of free throws.  The one thing they aren’t great at is forcing turnovers.  This is key – for it’s the Hornets primary issue.  Vasquez can have one of his special games against this team – and the Hornets can win if he does so.
  • The Wolves have been terrible at shooting from deep this season, firing up the 25th least number of three pointers while hitting them at a league-worst 29%.  Again – this means the Wolves can’t take advantage of a primary Hornets weakness.  I’d tell the Hornets to let the Wolves shoot – but we all know they are going to do that anyways.
  • The Hornets have to defend inside without fouling.  The primary source of cheap, easy points for the Timberwolves is their tremendous offensive rebound rate – and the free throws they get off of those rebounds.  The Hornets will have to defend putbacks without fouling.  This probably means we need increased minutes for Anthony Davis and Jason Smith – both of whom can block shots and not foul too often.

Enjoy the game!


Hope you like the throwback banner. Love me some PJ Brown.


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