The New Orleans Pelicans will face the Minnesota Timberwolves for the third time this season on Saturday evening at the Smoothie King Center. Although the Pelicans are a perfect 2-0 against the team from up north, the Timberwolves are not the same pushover from prior years. Just this month, they have recorded wins over four teams destined for the playoffs: Clippers, Bulls, Raptors and Celtics.
Karl Anthony-Towns is in the midst of his best month of his rookie campaign. He is averaging 21.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. His three-point shot has somewhat abandoned his game in February, but he is still on pace to average over 50 percent from the floor for yet another month. (He is unfamiliar with sub 50% territory in his incredibly young career.)
Not to be outdone, Andrew Wiggins is also enjoying the best month of his career: 23.3 points and approximately 1 three/block/steal a game. His shooting line is positively yummy (48.7 FG%, 47.1 3FG% and 76,7 FT%).
Throw in an effective Gorgui Dieng, Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine, the Timberwolves are a young, fun and enviable team of the future -- dare I say it, even more than the Pelicans?
As it was mentioned earlier today, New Orleans is scheduled to welcome back Eric Gordon to the lineup. This should be music to Anthony Davis' ears as he has been surrounded by a less than optimal group at the start of games because Alvin Gentry remains steadfast about keeping Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson with the reserves.
Keys to Watch
- AD vs. KAT. Lithe big men who can shoot the three-point shot are the wave of the future, and this duo, along with Kristaps Porzingis, are going to dominate the scene for at least the next decade. Anthony Davis has dropped stronger lines in their first two meetings, but I wouldn't be surprised if Towns one ups AD within the next 24 hours. Yeah, KAT is that good.
- Jrue Holiday. In their last meeting, Holiday feasted on wolves. In just 28 minutes of playing time, he scored 27 points, dished out 9 assists, grabbed 6 rebounds, drilled 3 treys and came up with 3 steals. It's no secret he's been playing well for months now, but it'll be worth watching if he can stand as a man among boys again.
- Trips to the charity stripe. Only the Houston Rockets have attempted more foul shots than Minnesota this month. Not only have the Timberwolves attempted 32.2 FTA, but they've sank 81.7% of their looks. Conversely, the Pelicans are averaging 23.8 trips to the line in February, knocking them down at a pedestrian 72.9% clip.