The New Orleans Pelicans walk into Target Center on Wednesday evening losers of two straight, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off an electric 114-109 victory over the Boston Celtics during which Anthony Edwards scored 38 points.
Karl-Anthony Towns will look to bounce back from a dud on Monday, after struggling with foul trouble and finding a shooting rhythm.
- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (4-3)
- When: 7:00 PM CT
- Where: Target Center
- TV: Bally Sports North (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen and Katie Storm)
- Radio: Wolves Radio App, KFAN FM 100.3
- Line: Timberwolves -7, Total: 220 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Updated as of 11 a.m. CT on Wednesday:
- Jaylen Clark (right achilles tendon rupture rehab)
- Jordan McLaughlin (right knee MCL sprain)
- Leonard Miller (G League assignment)
- Wendell Moore Jr. (G League assignment)
- Herb Jones (right fibula contusion)
- Jose Alvarado (right ankle sprain)
- Naji Marshall (right knee contusion)
- CJ McCollum (collapsed right lung)
- Trey Murphy III (left knee partial meniscectomy)
- Zion Williamson (personal reasons)
What To Watch For
(Editor’s Note: This was written before Zion Williamson was ruled out for personal reasons on Wednesday morning)
Anthony Edwards’ Brilliance
It’s no secret that Edwards shines brightest in big games, making Monday’s performance against the then-unbeaten Celtics on-brand for the 2022 NBA All-Star. But what’s also expected is his level of play to dip in games that aren’t must-watch TV, which could be a way to describe Wednesday’s matchup with New Orleans.
It feels like a potential “hangover” game for the Wolves, or at least the Wolves team we’re used to watching underperform in humdrum regular season games. Minnesota impressed against Denver as well, with added motivation to compete with the league’s best. As for the Pelicans, will they have the same motivation they did against their previous two elite foes? Their 28-point win against the Jazz would tell us they will, but fans know good and well that making assumptions with this team never works out.
Rudy Gobert’s Defensive Dominance
Four-time All-NBA selection Rudy Gobert has returned to form this season, leading the Timberwolves to a league-best defensive rating of 100.7. His stifling rim protection has anchored a team defense that features more-than-capable defenders in Mike Conley, Jaden McDaniels and Kyle Anderson to form quite a formidable group.
Gobert finished Monday’s meeting with the Celtics with a plus/minus of +24, scoring 14 points and pulling down 12 boards. His stats don’t jump off the final box score, but his impact was clear to anyone watching. Seemingly more comfortable — and healthy — entering this season has evidently had a major impact.
Jordan Hawkins’ Elite Shooting
Jordan Hawks shot 7-for-14 from beyond the arc in a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday, marking the second consecutive game in which he’s shot 50% from deep. The UConn product’s shooting ability is clearly translating well to the NBA, despite two rough outings to start the year from deep. Hawkins scored 31 points against Denver, flashing the gravity that comes with having a shooter like that on the floor.
Jordan Hawkins last night— . (@juerter) November 7, 2023
Dangerous shot maker and shooter, elite relocator and horizontal floor spacer
Lit up the nuggets and this will continue, went Lotto for a reason pic.twitter.com/IDu86PI0VJ
Potential For An Explosion of Offense
New Orleans has given up 134 and 123 points in their last two games, respectively, clearly struggling to defend the defending champs and the Hawks. While not as good as Denver’s offense, the Pelicans will have their hands full with Edwards and the rest of Minnesota’s offense.
Jaden McDaniels is coming off a 20-point effort in which he bounced back from after a 2-for-11 start, heating up in the second half and making timely buckets to help push the Timberwolves to a win. Perhaps starting in more of a rhythm on Wednesday, McDaniels will look to contribute early and often as lock-down defender Herb Jones (if he plays) likely takes the Edwards assignment.