Wolves vs. Bobcats Gameday





Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Bobcats 7 PM - Target Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 KFAN AM

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

Notable Injuries:
Wolves:
* Anthony Tolliver (knee) - OUT

Bobcats:
* Gerald Wallace (ankle) - OUT
* Nazr Mohammed (knee) - OUT
* DeSagana Diop (Achilles tendon) - OUT

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
All signs pointed to a smooth trajectory towards the upper level of the Eastern Conference for Charlotte. After posting a 44-38 record last year, the Bobcats reached the postseason under legendary head coach Larry Brown, proving once again he can resurrect any franchise. He can also have a short fuse for young teams and will jump ship early throughout his seven NBA stops over the last 22 years. On December 22, Brown resigned as Charlotte struggled out of the gate with a 9-19 record. Paul Silas was picked to help the Bobcats get back on track and quite possibly change the culture that had been established by Brown's defensive minded approach to basketball. The early results are difficult to assess, considering Charlotte owns a 2-2 record since Silas took the reins.

Last Time Out
On Monday night, the Bobcats were just another victim in the path of the mighty Miami Heat. Charlotte was buried 96-82 during LeBron James' season-high 38-point night and the Bobcats dropped to 11-21 on the season.

The Wolves just about snatched a victory on the Celtics home floor on Monday but Boston rallied in the fourth quarter for a 96-93 win.

The Numbers Game
While Minnesota ranks last in the league in points allowed, the team is starting to show improvement on the defensive end of the floor. Over the last five games, opposing teams are only averaging 97.8 points on the Wolves -- a differential of 10.8 points from their season average.

Match-up to Watch
Michael Beasley vs. Stephen Jackson
Minnesota needs Beasley on the floor and out of foul trouble. In the contest against Boston, Beasley was whistled for three fouls early in the game, resulting in his absence during a majority of the second and third quarters. Once he was back on the floor in crunch time, Beasley drilled crucial jumpers over All-Star Paul Pierce and finished with 19 points in 23 minutes of action. The Wolves small forward admitted to his foul issues while vowing to focus on that part of his game. On the opposite side tonight is a difficult defensive matchup for Beasley. Jackson is capable of big offensive explosions by hitting deep 3-pointers and attacking defenders off the dribble. Reportedly, the 10-year veteran had fluid drained from his knee after the Miami contest and could affect his ability to have a major impact on the game tonight, tipping the advantage towards Beasley in this matchup.

What to Look For
Silas was forced to adjust his starting lineup due to several key injuries. Charlotte placed Gerald Henderson at the shooting guard spot after Gerald Wallace re-injured his left ankle in practice. Center DeSagana Diop is out for the season with a ruptured right Achilles tendon, which created an open spot for Kwame Brown in the frontcourt. Another center, Nazr Mohammed was a late scratch from Monday's game and will sit out at least a week, suffering from a bruised right knee. Entering the contest tonight, Charlotte is extremely thin inside the paint and it only scored 36 points in that area against Miami two nights ago. Look for Minnesota to even the season series against the Bobcats with a sizeable advantage on the glass and offensive productivity. Aside from Jackson, Charlotte does not possess a ton of firepower, presenting a golden opportunity for the Wolves to record another home victory where the squad is 7-8 at Target Center.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.