Game On: Timberwolves @ Pelicans
It seems like the Pelicans have played the Wolves frequently – but each time neither team has fielded the same team. The Pelicans didn’t have the Unibrow for the first game and was missing most of the team for the second tiff, starting Roberts, Gordon, Aminu, Stiemsma and Ajinca in perhaps the worst starting line-up I’ve rooted for since Dan Dickau manned the point in New Orleans. In this game, the Wolves will definitely be without Pekovic, but may also be without Corey Brewer and Kevin Love, both of whom are dealing with nagging injuries.
Should Kevin Love be on the bench, this game should be ripe for the plucking by the Pelicans. If not, it will be a battle, as Love’s brand of efficient scoring and big-man bending rebounding gives his team a major advantage.
I’ll proceed as if Love and Brewer will be playing tonight when they tip off at 8:30 in the Smoothie King Center.
Keys to the Game:
- Keep the dumb fouls to a minimum. That might be a tall order for this team, but it’s 100% necessary against the Wolves. The Timberwolves have the 7th lowest eFG% in the game, but are still efficient because they draw fouls at the fifth highest rate in the game. Take that source of easy points away, and this game becomes manageable.
- Capitalize on Turnovers. The Timberwolves have the lowest rate of turnovers in the league. If the cough off the ball, make sure you score. No 2 on 1 breaks where the ball doesn’t get passed. I’m looking at you Eric Gordon.
- Play the pick and pop intelligently. In last game, the Hawks ran the pick and pop with Teague and Millsap and it resulted in several open threes – and Kevin Love is better at that shot than Millsap. Davis – or whomever draws Love – will have to stay home on Love, since our defensive strategy doesn’t include switching on the perimeter.
Enjoy the game in the new Smoothie Center!