Tim's Game Preview: Game 52, Charlotte Bobcats

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If the Wolves lose tonight, it's time to shut it down and start looking towards 2012-13.

Minnesota Timberwolves (24-27) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (7-40) at Time Warner Cable Arena


There are certain games that are "must win". There are also certain games that are "must not lose". Tonight's game is an example of the latter. The Bobcats have won 4 games at home. Those wins have come against Toronto, Golden State, Milwaukee and a 16-point win over Orlando. They are playing Byron Mullens 33 minutes per game.

The Wolves may have a long shot for the playoffs, but they still have a shot. If they lose a game like tonight's, "long shot" will turn to "no shot". They need to come out tonight with a strong effort and get a win before returning home to face Boston on Friday night.

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If there is one thing Corey Maggette is good at doing, it is drawing fouls. He's currently shooting 8.7 free throws per-36. For comparison, Wesley Johnson is shooting 0.9 free throws per-36.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Kevin Love vs. Bismack Biyombo
PF: Derrick Williams vs. Tyrus Thomas
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Corey Maggette
SG: Martell Webster vs. Gerald Henderson
PG: Luke Ridnour vs. D.J. Augustin

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Is it fair to say that Luke Ridnour has been the second best player on the Timberwolves this season?

Last 5 Games

Minnesota Timberwolves (4th in Northwest, 14 1/2 gms behind OKC; 11th in West, 3 1/2 behind DEN for 8th)

Mon, Mar 19: Win at Golden State 97-93
Wed, Mar 21: Loss at San Antonio 100-116
Fri, Mar 23: Loss at Oklahoma City 140-149 (2OT)
Sun, Mar 25: Win vs. Denver 117-100
Tue, Mar 27: Loss at Memphis 86-93

Charlotte Bobcats (5th in Southeast, 27 1/2 gms behind MIA; 15th in East, 31 behind NYC for 8th)

Sat, Mar 17: Win vs. Toronto 107-103
Mon, Mar 19: Loss vs. Philadelphia 80-105
Fri, Mar 23: Loss vs. Milwaukee 92-112
Sat, Mar 24: Loss at New Jersey 89-102
Mon, Mar 26: Loss vs. Boston 95-102

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Wayne Ellington has been having one of his patented up-swings lately. Let's hope this one continues a bit longer.

Injuries

Minnesota Timberwolves

J.J. Barea - Out with a bruised right thigh

Nikola Pekovic - Out with bone spurs in his ankle

Ricky Rubio - Out for the season

Michael Beasley - Probable with a sore left toe

Charlotte Bobcats

D.J. Augustin - Questionable with right knee tendinitis

DeSagana Diop - Question with strained right hamstring/knee

Eduardo Najera - Out indefinitely with a sore left knee

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Will David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves decide to keep Martell Webster this offseason? He's made a number of bonehead plays, but he is arguably the Wolves' best defender.

Noteworthy Stats

  • The Charlotte Bobcats are last in points per game (87.6), second-to-last in rebounds per game (39.2) and third-to-last in points allowed per game (100.7). The Wolves are 5th (99.2), 3rd (44.5) and 24th (99.1), respectively.
  • In his last two games against the Bobcats, Kevin Love has averaged 32.5 points and 16.5 rebounds on .594 shooting.
  • Corey Maggette has made 36 more free throws this season than Wesley Johnson has attempted in his career
  • Numbers per-36:
    Darko Milicic: 10.2 pts, 7.4 rebs, 1.3 asts, 1.9 blks, 9.1 PER, .012 WS/48
    DeSagana Diop: 3.6 pts, 10.0 rebs, 2.4 asts, 1.6 blks, 7.2 PER, -0.024 WS/48
  • Dwight Howard PER: 24.99
    Kevin Love PER: 25.60
    Should we starting going from "Best PF in the NBA" to "Best Big Man in the NBA"? Too soon?

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There are some reasons for optimism in Charlotte, but this season has been rough for fans in North Carolina.

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