Game On: Hornets @ Timberwolves
Published: February 2, 2013
It’s been a long, ugly roadtrip that has shattered what faint hope the Hornets had for the playoffs. Tonight, playing their fourth game in five nights, the Hornets get to finish things off against a desperately struggling Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Wolves have been bitten by injuries all across the board, and even though Ricky Rubio has returned, he’s still playing limited minutes and when out there, playing terribly, essentially tying Austin Rivers with his true shooting percentage while suffering a major increase in turnovers. That leaves the Timberwolves rolling with a pair of legitimate NBA starters, surrounded by a few guys who should be in the rotation. Sounds similar to what the Hornets had early in this season. The result is only 1 win in their past ten games.
If this wasn’t at the end of that nasty roadtrip, the game should be well within the Hornets grasp.
Keys to the Game
- Run the offense. Yes, that sounds simple, but the reason the Wolves have been losing a lot recently is almost entirely due to their defense. They don’t stop anyone. Opponents have posted the 3rd best eFG%, the 13th best free throw rate and 4th best offensive rebound rate against the Wolves during this stretch. That’s going to kill any team.
- Guard the ball. The one and only thing the Wolves have done well over the past 10 games defensively is force turnovers. After last night in Denver, if the Hornets give up big turnover numbers again, Monty will probably pull his hair out in big bloody chunks. If he had any hair. Without that stress release mechanism, we don’t want to see what he’ll do.
- Limit offensive rebounds. The Wolves shoot poorly and turn the ball over a lot. Their only real chance is crashing the boards. Put 4 guys on Pekovic on the defensive glass, 1 on Kirilenko and control them boards.
Enjoy the game!