By: Nathan Brinkman
The Timberwolves fill face the New Orleans Pelicans in a back-to -back after losing a tough game down the stretch at home to the Washington Wizards. The Timberwolves have been without starting point guard Jeff Teague as well as key reserve Nemanja Bjelica in recent games and have some what struggled in those contests.
The Wolves and the Pelicans both look like potential western conference playoff teams early on so naturally this will be a key game for both teams. The Wolves did come out on top in the last meeting between the two teams, given they had no injured players and the Pelicans were without veteran starting point guard Rajon Rondo.
What to watch for:
Exhausted Starters: Similar to his days in Chicago, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau has been playing his starters a ton of minutes to start the season. In last night's game all five starters played at least 37 minutes. Three of the five exceeded 40 minutes. This is cause for concern, especially in a traveling back to back game. Hopefully for the Timberwolves Thibs can find a good starter/bench minutes balance in tonights contest.
Boogie/AD: Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are perhaps the best frontcourt duo since Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The rest of the team, fortunately for the Wolves, is not so great. The Wolves will need to do the best they can to slow down the dominant duo down-low if they hope to come out on top. Taj Gibson Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng can all be good defenders at times, but they will need to be in top form to compete against New Orleans.
Andrew Wiggins: While the Wolves will have their hands full with AD and Cousins, Andrew Wiggins should have a chance to to shine in this game. Wiggins should be the offensive vocal point for the Wolves and I expect him to put up good numbers while getting to the free throw line consistently. If the Wolves are to pull out a victory, it will be Wiggins who leads them there.
Minnesota: PG Tyus Jones, SG Jimmy Butler, SF Andrew Wiggins, PF Taj Gibson C Karl-Anthony Towns
New Orleans: PG Rajon Rondo, SG Jrue Holiday, SF Daunte Cunningham, PF Anthony Davis, C Demarcus Cousins
Pelicans win 104-91. Unfortunately I don't see coach Thibs deciding to ease up on starters minutes, resulting in a tired Wolves squad floundering down the stretch.