Top Home Games of 2013-14: No. 13 vs. MIN
Friday, Feb. 7, 8:30 p.m.
Other 2013-14 games between these two teams
Wednesday, Jan. 1, New Orleans at Minnesota
Wednesday, Jan. 29, New Orleans at Minnesota
Why it’s on the list
In the final Pelicans home game prior to the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, there will be a considerable amount of uniqueness to this Friday night matchup between the Timberwolves and Pelicans. Among New Orleans’ three national TV appearances on ESPN in 2013-14, this is the lone game that will take place in its home arena (the other ESPN tilts are at Dallas and Phoenix). Feb. 7 is also the only time the inside-outside Minnesota duo of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio will play in the Crescent City this season.
In a scheduling oddity, all three Pelicans-Timberwolves matchups in 2013-14 will take place over an eight-week span. The clubs are projected by many NBA analysts to potentially be in contention for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, which could make their head-to-head games of even greater importance.
There are few significant connections between the two rosters, but Pelicans center Greg Stiemsma played for the Timberwolves last season, his second in the NBA. Stiemsma started 19 times in his 76 appearances with Minnesota.
What’s new in Minnesota
Injuries ravaged the 31-51 Timberwolves in 2012-13, essentially ending their hopes of returning to the playoffs. Minnesota added several pieces in the offseason that should increase its depth and protect against health concerns, including acquiring high-scoring guard Kevin Martin and Denver bench catalyst Corey Brewer. In the first round of the 2013 draft, the Timberwolves traded the No. 9 overall pick (Utah used it on point guard Trey Burke) in order to add a pair of college prospects, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng.