Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Bobcats
Web Editorial Associate
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
Wolves (5-2) vs. Bobcats (3-3) — 7:00 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
The Charlotte Bobcats come to Minneapolis tonight to square off against a Timberwolves team that has won four of their last five contests and are off to their best start since 2001-02. A win tonight would produce another overdue milestone: It would mark the franchise’s first 4-0 start at home since 2002-03.
Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
Charlotte brought their overall record to 3-3 after a 92-76 drubbing of Washington, winning their second consecutive game in the process. The Wizards had a single player in double-digit scoring—Trevor Ariza with 19—and they were held to 30 percent shooting from the field along with 16 percent from 3. Ramon Sessions led the Bobcats with 21 points, and Kemba Walker poured in another 17. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had an impact night, shooting 6-11 for 15 points along with eight rebounds.
One way or another, these Timberwolves keep on winning. Their latest victory came on Monday night in Dallas when a Minnesota roster that was reduced to nine healthy players defeated the Mavericks 90-82. On the heels of news that Chase Budinger would require knee surgery, the Wolves seized the lead three minutes into the game and never looked back. Minnesota enjoyed another quality showing on the defensive end, holding Dallas to a season-low 36 percent shooting effort. Andrei Kirilenko had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Nikola Pekovic logged 20 points before leaving in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.
Last Time Out: March 28, 2012
Kevin Love made yet another compelling case for his MVP consideration when he stuffed his statistic line with 40 points and 19 rebounds in the Timberwolves' 88-83 victory over Charlotte.
"If he continues to do what he's doing for a good portion of his career, he's going to be one of the best ever," Charlotte's coach Paul Silas said after the loss, which dropped his club to 7-41. "He's just tenacious. That ball goes up and he's there. And he's strong... The young boys we have are not ready for that. So that makes it difficult."
Luke Ridnour tossed in 15 points for the Wolves along with 11 from reserve forward Anthony Tolliver. Corey Maggette led the Bobcats with 22 points, supplemented by Kemba Walker's 20 and Gerald Henderson's 15. Eduardo Najera led Charlotte in rebounding with eight.
Key Matchup: Kemba Walker vs. Luke Ridnour
Kemba Walker leads Charlotte's offensive attack with 18.8 points per game, and the second-year guard out of Connecticut is beginning to assert himself as a talented young player in the league. He scored 30 points against Indiana in the season opener and had another 26 against Dallas recently. Walker is showing flashes of the pure scoring ability that he had in college, and if he can become more consistent, he has a chance to be a cornerstone of this franchise.
He's an interesting matchup with the Wolves' Luke Ridnour. Ridnour might be his team's best midrange shooter, and he can spot up from 3 as well. He's not as explosive heading to the rim, as he will choose a floater over one of Walker's hard drives. Ridnour has been a steady hand for Minnesota, starting at point guard and scoring at least eight points in all seven games this year. He averages 11.1 points per game—fourth among Wolves players—and depending on J.J. Barea's injury status, the 31-year-old could be looking at a 30-35 minute test Wednesday night against a dynamic young point guard in Walker.
The Wolves continue to battle injuries this season, losing center Nikola Pekovic in the second half of Monday’s win against the Mavericks. He is scheduled to be evaluated this morning and his status is questionable for tonight’s game. The Wolves could have guards Brandon Roy (knee) and JJ Barea (foot) back tonight, each of whom have missed time over the past three games. Roy and Barea are also listed as questionable for tonight.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Luke Ridnour||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Brandon Roy*||Jeffery Taylor|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Byron Mullens|
|C||Nikola Pekovic*||Brendan Haywood|
* - Designates questionable status tonight