Scouting Report: Wolves (24-25) at Pelicans (21-27) | Feb. 7, 2014

Timberwolves at Pelicans | 8:30 PM — New Orleans Arena

Where to Watch: ESPN

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

This is a very crucial stretch for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are 1-1 this week, but before the All-Star Game, they have the Pelicans, Blazers, Rockets and Nuggets, all teams fighting for position for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

If the Wolves want to remain in that fight, a win over the Pelicans on Friday night would certainly help.

The Wolves are 24-25 this season, 4.5 games back from the Mavericks for the eighth seed in the West. The Pelicans are 21-27, seven games back from the eighth seed.

Last Meeting

The Wolves are 2-0 against the Pelicans this season with the last win coming on Jan. 29 at the Target Center. The Wolves won 88-77 behind 30 points, 14 rebounds and five assists from Kevin Love. Kevin Martin added 18 points and six rebounds. Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea finished with 12 and 10 points off the bench, respectively.

Al Farouq-Aminu led New Orleans with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Eric Gordon scored 14 points, but shot just 5-of-17 from the field. Tyreke Evans led the bench with 11 points.

The Wolves were without Nikola Pekovic, while New Orleans was missing Anthony Davis.

This Week’s Results

Minnesota last played on Wednesday. The Wolves fell 106-97 on the road against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Wolves were shorthanded, playing without Love, Pekovic and Corey Brewer. Ricky Rubio led the Wolves with 19 points, five assists and eight rebounds. Cunningham started in place of Love, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks. Barea led the second unit with 11 points.

The Wolves are 2-3 in their last five games.

The Pelicans are coming off of a 105-100 home win against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Davis led New Orleans with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Brian Roberts added 19 points, six assists and two steals. Gordon added 18 points, while Anthony Morrow led the second unit with 16 points.

New Orleans is 3-2 in its last five games.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Anthony Davis

Both of these players are putting up numbers that are turning heads in the NBA. Love has been a bit more consistent, but that’s understandable being Davis is only in his second season. These two players will likely match up against each other. Davis likes to stay near the basket, while Love puts the “stretch” in the stretch 4 title.

On the season, Davis is averaging 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and a league-leading 3.3 blocks per game. In his only game against Minnesota this season, Davis scored just 13 points while bringing in six rebounds.

Love is putting up 25.6 points per game (4th in NBA), 13.2 rebounds (2nd in NBA) and four assists (career-high) this season. In two games against New Orleans this season, Love is averaging 25.5 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game.

This matchup could change drastically if Love is unable to go after the injuries he sustained on Tuesday night against the Lakers.

Injury Report

The Wolves are without Pekovic (ankle) indefinitely. After missing last game, Corey Brewer (personal) is probable. Love, who missed Wednesday’s game with a sore back, is also probable.

The Pelicans will be without Ryan Anderson (stinger) and Jrue Holiday (leg) indefinitely. Forward Jason Smith (knee) is out for the season. Guard Tyreke Evans (ribs) is questionable.

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.