Scouting Report: Wolves at Hornets
Scouting Report: Wolves at Hornets
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate
Wolves (3-7) at Hornets (3-7) - 7 PM New Orleans Arena
Where to Watch: No local/NBA League Pass
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO
The Minnesota Timberwolves are back on the road tonight, facing the New Orleans Hornets, a team that—on paper—has had similar struggles early into the season. But despite the similar record both the Wolves and the Hornets have encountered, Minnesota is entering Friday’s contest with the understanding that statistics do not prove a team’s worth.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
“We’re in the same place they are,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “I think New Orleans is a much better team than their record indicates. They are a talented team up front and have two big guys who are a handful.”
One of the big guys Adelman was referencing was his former player with the Houston Rockets, Carl Landry, who is averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per night.
Also dominating up front for the Hornets is Chris Kaman, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds on 8-for-16 shooting against the Thunder.
While Adelman would never make excuses for his team, or any team, he did admit the tightened schedule has become another obstacle to face this season.
“A lot of what is going on in the league is partly how you play and somewhat the schedule, too,” he said.
New Orleans’ post-lockout moves were highly documented, as the Hornets traded point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles and free agent forward David West signed with the Pacers. After losing two of their most prominent players, conventional wisdom suggests the Hornets might be easier to prepare for.
That’s not the case. Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver said this Hornets team has diverse talent on the floor, and it’s just as hard getting ready for this team because the Wolves aren’t as sure who is going to take control.
“They have a lot of different weapons,” Tolliver said. “It’s not like we are going to be focused on anybody like we did with Chris Paul last night. They have a lot of different weapons and they just play as a team. Sometimes that’s good, but sometimes that’s bad. But it’s a dangerous thing because you don’t have anybody to focus on, so who do you focus on?”
Guard Eric Gordon, who was the key piece in the Paul trade, has an injured right knee and has played in only two games this season and small forward Trevor Ariza has missed the last five games with a groin injury. Landry is the team’s leading scorer—excluding Gordon’s abbreviated numbers—and point guard Jarrett Jack is pacing the team with a solid 14.9 points and 7.9 assists per contest. The Hornets have seven players averaging 9 points or more per game.
Key matchup: Another battle in the paint
While the Hornets fell short against Oklahoma City, their efforts did not go unnoticed as they outscored the Western Conference leaders 42-32 in the paint. Landry scored 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting against the Thunder, and DaJuan Summers scored 10 points. Al-Farouq Aminu grabbed nine rebounds against OKC and put up a double-double (15 points, 12 boards) against Dallas on Saturday.
Kevin Love continues to rack up big numbers, recording his 10th double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds against Chicago on Tuesday. He is currently second in the league in rebounding with 14.7 boards per contest, trailing only Orlando’s Dwight Howard at 15.2.
Struggles at home
The Hornets are desperate to get jumpstarted at New Orleans Arena. New Orleans is 1-4 at home this season compared to 2-3 on the road. The Hornets won a convincing 97-78 matchup with Boston in their home opener, but since then they’ve lost four straight at home and are 1-7 overall during that stretch.
The Wolves enter the game 1-2 on the road, but with a three-point loss in Milwaukee and a back-and-forth defeat in Toronto, Minnesota likely feels they have played competitive basketball away from Target Center. The Timberwolves are 8-19 all-time on the road against the Hornets.
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