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Pelicans at Timberwolves Preview: How Now Brow Cow

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The Timberwolves welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Target Center tonight. Take advantage of the chance to see one of the best players in the NBA in person.

Anthony Davis. Wingspan incarnate.
Anthony Davis. Wingspan incarnate.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the NBA named its ten All-Star starters, selected by fan vote. There were no major surprises among them. However, tonight Target Center will host one of them, which is not an every game occasion. Anthony Davis has made the jump from extremely talented player to a legitimate top five talent in the NBA over the course of the season. Davis is averaging 24.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game this season, and while he recently missed time due to a toe injury, he returned with a vengeance on Wednesday, collecting 29 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 4 blocks during a win over the Lakers. With his combination of shot-blocking ability, scoring, rebounding, ball-handling, and any other basketball-related verb you can come up with, he is a unique talent, and a chance to see him play in person should not be passed up.

The Matchup

New Orleans Pelicans (21-21, 5th Southwest Division) at Minnesota Timberwolves (7-34, 5th Northwest Division)

Friday, January 23, 2015, 7:00pm CT

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

The Season Series

11/19/14: Pelicans 139, Timberwolves 91 (@NO) (Canis Hoopus recap) (The Bird Writes recap)

tonight: Pelicans at Timberwolves

3/29/15: Timberwolves at Pelicans

4/13/15: Pelicans at Timberwolves

Yeah, let's just not talk about that first game.

Last Five

Minnesota New Orleans (recaps courtesy of The Bird Writes)
Wed 1/21: DAL, L 98-75 (recap) Wed 1/21: LAL, W 96-80 (recap)
Mon 1/19: @CHA, L 105-80 (recap) Mon 1/19: @NYK, L 99-92 (recap)
Sat 1/17: @DEN, W 113-105 (recap) Sun 1/18: @TOR, W 95-93 (recap)
Fri 1/16: @PHX, L 110-99 (recap) Fri 1/16: @PHI, L 96-81 (recap)
Tue 1/13: @IND, W 110-101 (recap) Wed 1/14: @DET, W 105-94 (recap)

The Wolves, after winning two of three, have gotten smacked around each of the last two games. This could be better! The Pelicans can beat one of the hottest teams in the NBA and one of the best teams in the East, then lose to the two worst teams in the East. Anything is possible, and if the 76ers and Knicks can pick up wins...

Injury and Transaction News

Disclaimer: This may be updated as the teams announce lineups and information comes out throughout the day on Friday.

For the Timberwolves, Nikola Pekovic (ankle) returned from his lengthy absence and played well in Wednesday's game, so one would expect him to play again, but probably still on relatively small minutes. Kevin Martin (wrist) may make his return as well, and will likely be a game-time or game-day decision, as he was on Wednesday. Ricky Rubio (ankle) and Shabazz Muhammad (oblique) will not play due to their respective injuries.

UPDATE (1:26pm): Per Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune, Kevin Martin will not play tonight.

For the Pelicans, starting point guard Jrue Holiday (leg) remains out. The Pelicans are expected to sign PG Nate Wolters to a second 10-day contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, which means we should see him tonight.

Fun with Numbers

Former Wolf Dante Cunningham returns to Minnesota tonight. He has started the Pelicans' last seven games, and while his rebounding is up (to 4.3 from 3.1) his scoring is down (to 3.0 from 5.3), and the drop in his offensive rating is remarkable (107 as a reserve, 82 as a starter). He probably won't be that much of a factor in the game, but I thought it would be good to highlight his return after his departure and the difficult times in his personal life after last season. Welcome back, Dante!

(stats via basketball-reference.com)

TV and Radio Coverage

TV: Fox Sports North, NBA League Pass

Radio: 830 WCCO

Tickets: here!

For the Pelican perspective, check out The Bird Writes' preview here. Go Wolves!

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UPDATE/ADDITION (11:07am):

I hopped on a podcast with the guys over at Bourbon Street Shots, ESPN's TrueHoop blog dedicated to covering the Pelicans. Check out my conversation with Michael Pellissier and Jake Madison by following this link.

-zb

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