Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: FOX Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets will be looking to win two games in a row for the first time since the beginning of November when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening. The Wolves will be playing the second of a road back-to-back after squaring off with the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. The Hornets will be back on the court following a 102-87 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night.
Through the first 14 games of the season, the Hornets have a major problem closing out games in the fourth quarter. The team found itself in the exact same position against the Clippers with a two-point lead entering the fourth. Fortunately, Steve Clifford’s club was able to shut down the Clippers’ offense in the final stanza en route to a 29-16 advantage to clinch the victory.
Once again, it was Kemba Walker who the led the way in scoring with 26 points. The Hornets’ point guard also dished out 6 assists while not turning the ball over a single time. Dwight Howard added a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds while Nicolas Batum chipped in 12 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb provided 17 points off the bench in just 22 minutes.
The Hornets held the Clippers to 39.8 percent shooting for the game and 27.6 from 3-point range while winning the rebounding battle 49-44. Charlotte also took care of the ball as the team only turned the ball over 8 times against Los Angeles.
If the Hornets are going to defeat the Timberwolves, it’s going to take the same kind of defensive effort and attention to detail. Karl-Anthony Towns and Taj Gibson are a load to handle down low which means Dwight and Marvin will have to impose their will inside and stay out of foul trouble.
Towns is averaging 21.1 points and 11.5 rebounds this season while Gibson is adding 10.1 points and 7.9 rebounds in a bounce-back season for the forward from USC.
Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague are all also averaging double figures in scoring this season, with Teague adding 7.5 assists per game.
The Wolves have finally turned a corner this season after struggling to live up to their potential the last two years. Towns has turned himself into a bona fide star in this league while the veteran leadership of Butler, Gibson and Teague seems to have put Minnesota in position to be real threats in the Western Conference this season.
Charlotte must bring their A-game on Monday night to pick up their second consecutive victory.