Scouting Report: Wolves (22-22) vs. Pelicans (19-25) | Jan. 29, 2014

Scouting Report: Wolves (22-22) vs. Pelicans (19-25) | Jan. 29, 2014


Timberwolves vs. Pelicans | 7:00 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

If there were a time for the Wolves to go over .500, Wednesday night’s game against the Pelicans looks to be about perfect.

The Wolves are coming in hot, having won three games during a four-game road stretch. The Pelicans are an injured bunch, and played last night on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, Minnesota, better than most teams, knows that no opponent should be overlooked. The Wolves won’t be going into the game healthy either, as they announced on Tuesday afternoon that they will be without Nikola Pekovic (ankle) for at least 7-10 days.

Minnesota comes into the game with a 22-22 record, good for 11th in the Western Conference, four games behind the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth seed. The Pelicans are 19-25, 12th place in the West.

Last Meeting

The two squads faced off just once this season and that came on Jan. 1 at the Target Center. The Wolves brought the New Year in on the right foot, beating the Pelicans 124-112.

The Wolves had seven players hit double-digits, led by Pekovic’s 22 points. The big man was 8-of-11 from the field. Kevin Love added 21 points, but was just 1-of-7 from the 3-point line. Kevin Martin scored 20, while J.J. Barea led the bench with 17 points. Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham had 10 points each. Ricky Rubio might have had the best all-around game, scoring 14 points (4-6 FG, 1-1 3P) to go with nine assists, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. The Wolves shot a scorching 55.7 percent from the field.

The Pelicans were led by stretch forward Ryan Anderson’s 25 points. Jrue Holiday added 19 and Tyreke Evans led the bench with 16 off the bench. The Wolves were able to hold second-year big man Anthony Davis to just 13 points. Davis did manage to finish with four blocks. Eric Gordon scored 12 points. The Pelicans committed 17 turnovers in the loss.

Wolves Minute

Jan. 29, 2014

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This Week’s Results

The Wolves are coming off of a 95-86 road win against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. It was the fourth consecutive road game for the Wolves. Minnesota was 3-1 on the trip.

In Monday’s game, Love led the way for Minnesota, scoring 31 points to go with eight rebounds. Love was 14-of-14 from the free-throw line in the game. Ronny Turiaf filled in for Pekovic, who exited six minutes into the game because of an ankle injury, and put up a season-high 14 points while shooting 6-of-7 from the field. Chase Budinger also had a season-high, scoring 12 points off the bench while shooting 5-of-7 from the field. Wing Corey Brewer was the only other Wolves starter to hit double-digits, scoring 11 points to go with three steals.

Minnesota managed to hold Chicago to just 37.6 percent from the field.

The Wolves are 4-1 in their last five games.

New Orleans beat Cleveland 100-89 on Tuesday night.

Davis led the Pelicans with 30 points and eight blocks. Gordon added 20, despite going 1-of-5 from the 3-point line. Brian Roberts and Aminu scored 12 points each.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Anthony Davis

These are the two biggest stars for each respective team, but the difference comes down to the supporting cast of each squad. Love’s got players like Martin and Rubio to work with. Davis has seen injuries deplete his roster, but he’s still got Evans coming off the bench and Gordon starting at the 2.

Still, don’t be surprised if Davis and Love cancel each other out and it comes down to the other four players on the court.

Love and Davis play very different, even though they are both power forwards. Love enjoys stretch the court (much like Anderson) and lining up from his left corner 3-point spot. He’s also a rebounding machine, which is news to nobody. Love is averaging 24.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists (career-high) per game this season.

Davis is a monster on the defensive end, swatting shots left and right. The majority of his shots come inside, but he’s been better at expanding his game outside. Davis is averaging 20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and a league-leading 3.3 blocks per game.

It will be interesting to see if Davis chases Love around to the 3-point line or the Pelicans switch players. We’ll know more in a few hours.

Injury Report

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Tuesday afternoon that Pekovic underwent an MRI that revealed bursitis in his right ankle. Pekovic will be withheld from basketball activities for 7-10 days and will be reevaluated at that time. He will be sidelined indefinitely. Expect Ronny Turiaf to get the start for the Wolves. Rookie Gorgui Dieng will likely get extended minutes as well.

For New Orleans, forward Ryan Anderson (stinger), guard Jrue Holiday (leg) and forward Jason Smith (knee) are all out indefinitely. Guard Tyreke Evans (illness) is expected to play.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Pelicans
PG Ricky Rubio Brian Roberts
SG Kevin Martin Eric Gordon
SF Corey Brewer Al-Farouq Aminu
PF Kevin Love Anthony Davis
C Ronny Turiaf Alexis Ajinca


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.