Game On: Minnesota Timberwolves V. New Orleans Pelicans

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Published: February 27, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans will be visited by the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Smoothie King Center. The game will feature four of the most exciting young and upcoming players in the league, from New Orleans’ own Anthony Davis to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine. This is the third matchup between the two teams this season, with the Pelicans winning the prior two games by an average of 14.5 points per game. The Pelicans swept the season series in 2014-15.

Davis and Towns are the two premier big men in the game (and both University of Kentucky alums.) Towns is averaging 19.5 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game in the two contests. Since Minnesota has added Gorgui Dieng and LaVine to the starting lineup, the team has seen a nice jump on offense. Overall, the teams rate similarly in both Offensive and Defensive Ratings (as per ESPN’s Hollinger Stats.) The Pelicans are 11th in the NBA with an Offensive Rating of 103.6. The Timberwolves are tied for 12th at 103.4. The Pelicans and Timberwolves are tied (with the Brooklyn Nets) with a Defensive Rating of 106.6 (good for 26th.)

The Pelicans will be welcoming Eric Gordon back, with ESPN writer Justin Verrier reporting that Gordon will immediately be inserted into the starting lineup. Gordon gives the Pelicans starting lineup their best floor spacer, with Gordon hitting 37.5% of his shots from beyond the arc prior to missing the past 16 games.

Here are the Keys to the Game:

  • Keep Hitting Shots From Beyond the Arc- The Pelicans have made ten threes in each other their two games against the Timberwolves, going 20 of 47 from beyond the arc. On top of that, they have only given up five three pointers on 26 attempts to Minnesota. Outscoring a team by over twenty points from beyond the arc against a similarly rated team is exactly how you get the W.
  • Keep Getting Anthony Davis the Ball- Davis clearly likes playing against Towns, averaging 31 points per game in their two prior contests. It is hard to see the Pelicans losing if Davis eclipses 30 against this Minnesota team.
  • Don’t Let Wiggins Catch On- Wiggins is 12 of 31 from the field in the prior two games. The size of the Pelicans wings, along with Gentry’s call to get back on transition defense, has disabled the two ways Wiggins is most comfortable scoring at the moment. If Minnesota’s sophomore star doesn’t come through, it is hard seeing how Minnesota is going to score enough points to beat New Orleans.

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  1. Pingback: Coach: Guard Eric Gordon returning to Pelicans’ lineup – Sports Brief Now

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