When: 2pm EST
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena - Charlotte, NC
See It: Fox Sports South
Hear It: WFNZ 610 AM
Monday afternoon, the Charlotte Hornets will host the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-32) in an early Martin Luther King Jr. Day game.
Charlotte could find themselves an opportunity for the shorthanded win despite being affected by injuries themselves. Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic have been out since November, but Martin is listed is questionable, though Pekovic is still doubtful. Unfortunately, Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad have been ruled out.
As a result of all the injuries, the remainder of Minnesota's roster has been young, but they had themselves a banner week last week. On Tuesday, the Timberwolves snapped a 15-game losing streak against the Indiana Pacers behind Mo Williams' 52-point performance. Finally, on the second night of a back-to-back, Minnesota beat the Nuggets in Denver.
Despite the injuries, you still have a reason to watch the Timberwolves. That reason is reigning number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game on 43.4 shooting from the field. The rookie is continuing to improve, and is coming off his first career 30-point game-- making him the first teenager to do so since Kyrie Irving.
For the Hornets, they too will be down players due to injury. Kemba Walker will miss this afternoon's game, and Al Jefferson may not return until Wednesday night.
Without Walker and Jefferson, the Hornets have held their own. Charlotte played host to the reigning champions on Wednesday and lost by just five points. And on Saturday night, the Hornets beat the Pacers in overtime in a game that you would not call pretty. After Minnesota, Charlotte will host the Heat on Wednesday as the conclusion to their four-game homestand.
Both teams will be missing key players to injuries today, meaning that we won't see either at their best. Minnesota comes in having won two of their last three, but Charlotte has continued to be competitive in this last week as well. As a young team, the Timberwolves have played down to opponents like Charlotte who have been lessened by injury. Against a Hornets team that has spent the last few weeks making a push, that would be a mistake.
Of course, taking two wins now with Jefferson and Walker out would be a great way to build momentum leading up to their return. You know, unless Mo Williams is going to score another 52 points, of course.