By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy Tuesday, Wolves fans.
Sunday afternoon, the Wolves won a basketball game for the first time since December 30.
It was a feel-good win for a team that definitely needed one, having previously lost 13 of their past 14 games. Let's hope the team can keep the positive vibes rolling and start trending in the right direction tonight vs. New Orleans.
The Pelicans (13-27) have been a disappointment this season, with many analysts/experts predicting them to be right in the mix for a playoff berth. They currently sit at the 12 spot in the Western Conference and have lost 7 of their last 10 games. Anthony Davis's stats are down a bit from last year (he's still a freak), probably from the fact that the team is much worse, and the lack of talent surrounding him. Additionally, Tyreke Evans has only played 21 games, so yeah, that doesn't help either. Tonight will be a battle between 2 of the bottom 4 teams in the Western Conference.
What: Wolves @ Pelicans
Where: Smoothie King Center. New Orleans, Louisiana.
When: 7:00pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Towns-Davis: Early in his career, Karl-Anthony Towns has drawn comparisons to #TheBrow and all-star that is Anthony Davis. On the season, Towns is averaging (per game) 15.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, while shooting a highly efficient (and 9th ranked in the league) 52% from the field. On the other side, Davis averages 22.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks, while shooting 48% from the field. Even though these two may not match up the whole night, when they do, get the popcorn ready because it's going to be a lot of fun.
Ricky's shooting: The unicorn is firing on all cylinders right now. In the month of January, Rubio is shooting 41% from the field and 45% from the three point line. 45%!!! That is a massive leap compared to the month of December, in which he shot 31% from the field and 32% from the three point line. His assist numbers are down from 9.6 to 6.8 (Dec-Jan), being from how poorly the team has shot, but this is about Ricky's sharpshooting, so let's focus on that and hope it continues.
Bench Play: Because neither team can rely on their starting unit to score at a high rate, they both turn to their bench much quicker and longer (more mins) than the majority of the league. Both New Orleans and Minnesota's benches rank at the very top in points scored and minutes played. Therefore, expect bench play to be a major factor in the outcome of the game tonight.
Points: Andrew Wiggins (20.8)
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns (9.5)
Assists: Ricky Rubio (8.5)
Steals: Ricky Rubio (2.3)
Blocks: Karl-Anthony Towns (1.7)
Points: Anthony Davis (22.8)
Rebounds: Anthony Davis (10.6)
Assists: Tyreke Evans (6.7)
Steals: Tyreke Evans (1.4)
Blocks: Anthony Davis (2.4)
Has not yet been reported
That's all, folks. This is another winnable game for Minnesota who could really use this (bar a win) as a confidence builder for the next 4 games, which are against playoff-bound teams (DAL, MEM, CLE, OKC).
Prediction: Wolves win 105-94 behind strong performances from Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.