Minnesota are yet to show that they can be a Western Conference powerhouse this season, but still boast a winning record of 4-3. Their last game was an overtime win against the Miami Heat, the Timberwolves taking the game 125-122. Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague each provided 20 points or more, but their defense was a real issue as the Heat scored 52.7% of their shots from the field. This was no fluke either, as the T-Wolves are the third worst team in points allowed, and have been relying on their offensive potency to get wins.
The Pelicans have not been without their struggles either and suffered a tough loss at home to the Orlando Magic, 115-99, on Monday night. Anthony Davis shone in this matchup, but it was a tough night for DeMarcus Cousins, who only managed 12 points off 35% shooting from the field. What’s clear, however, is that the big-man tandem of Cousins and Davis can play to devastating effect together on the court. The only problem is that the Pelicans need both guys to perform every single game; New Orleans lack the depth to cover should one have an off night, as was the case against the Magic.
Keys to the game
Defense – The Timberwolves have really struggled on this end of the floor so far and face a tough test against the Pelicans’ eighth-ranked offense. They need to tighten up in this game if they stand any chance of victory.
Big man battle – Fans will be spoiled with the big men on show tonight in Cousins, Davis and Towns. For KAT, he needs to make sure he secures the paint and limits the amount of offensive rebounds the twin towers can grab.
Boogie bounce back – Cousins had a tough night out in his last game, so he’ll look to be the aggressor tonight and remind the home fans what he’s made of. Expect him to bounce back.
Matchup to watch
Karl Anthony-Towns vs DeMarcus Cousins – These two have been solid so far, averaging at least 24 points and 11 rebounds a piece. It will be a tough battle in the post all night to see who can establish themselves as the big man in this one.
Minnesota Timberwolves projected lineup
PG – Jeff Teague | SG – Jimmy Butler | SF – Jimmy Butler | PF – Taj Gibson | C – Karl Anthony-Towns |
New Orleans Pelicans projected lineup
PG – Jrue Holiday | SG – E’Twaun Moore | SF – Dante Cunningham | PF – Anthony Davis | C – DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins has averaged 29.4 points and 13.6 rebounds, had a bad game last time out and is facing his toughest head-to-head challenge all season. The pieces are all in place for the Pelicans center to have a monster game.
The over/under is 225.5, but with both teams focusing on stopping each other’s high-powered offenses, the game could definitely see less points than that.
This should be an exciting game, with good matchups across the floor. The Timberwolves have been impressive on the road, winning two of their last three, and they’ll continue that form on Tuesday with a close win.
The game will be shown on local Fox Sports channels and NBA League Pass. Tip-off is at 8pm ET.
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