Minnesota Timberwolves vs Charlotte Hornets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Minnesota Timberwolves at Charlotte Hornets

Where: Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC

When: Thursday, March 21st at 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Southeast – Charlotte | 830 WCCO

Minnesota Timberwolves (Away)

Head Coach: Ryan Saunders {All-Time 13-17 | MIN}

The Minnesota Timberwolves made a valiant push, but inconsistencies and a difficult schedule have all but forced them out of the playoff race. With a record of 32-28, they are 8.5 games out of a playoff spot and ranked tenth in the Western Conference.

What limited the Timberwolves was nothing more than their performance in clutch situations. Their defense has been suspect all year and it was the main contributor to their 3-7 record over the last ten games. While they won matches against the weakest teams of the East (Knicks, Wizards), they failed to pass the test against real Western Conference competition in the Nuggets, Jazz, and Rockets.

The Timberwolves will be facing off against a Charlotte Hornets team that is still technically eligible to make the playoffs. Just 2.5 games out, the Hornets will be motivated to take down the Timberwolves. The Wolves will have to be stout in their defense if they want to slow the oncoming scoring threat of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb.

Charlotte Hornets (Home)

Head Coach: James Borrego {All-Time 41-58 | ORL, CHA}

The Charlotte Hornets sit tenth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 31-38. They are a mere two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference which is currently occupied by the Miami Heat. They are coming off of a loss to the Miami Heat, but are certainly motivated to take down the Minnesota Timberwolves.

A great contributor to the Hornets’ struggles has been their difficult schedule as of late. They are 3-7 in their last ten matches and face teams with an average win rate of .544. While they could surely use a win, it won’t come easy against the offensively adept Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

When the Hornets take on the Timberwolves they will face off against a talented paint scoring team. While they maintain players who are able to score from range, the talents of Towns in the post and Wiggins and Rose attacking from the wing are legitimate. The Hornets perimeter defenders will have to be organized if they hope to stop the Timberwolves penetration.

What’s At Stake?

It has been a rather one-sided series when the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Charlotte Hornets face off. In 55 regular season games, the Hornets are 35-20 against the Timberwolves.

A win for the Minnesota Timberwolves would bring them within eight games of the eighth-place position in the Western Conference.

A win for the Charlotte Hornets would bring them within two games of the Miami Heat who occupy eighth in the East.

Questions to answer

Can Josh Okogie regain his form?

Why can’t the Hornets execute late?

We are going to compare the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Charlotte Hornets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Okogie Has Hit The “Rookie Wall”

Josh Okogie has been a revelation for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. Selected with the 20th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Okogie’s initial assessment as an unskilled athletic wing has been remade into that of an athletic defensive option with flashes of ability from range.

To this point Josh Okogie has appeared 62 times for the Timberwolves and started in 40 of those matches. He is averaging 7 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal and block per game. While not flashy numbers, Okogie has shown that he can play a role in the ever-expanding NBA.

Be it fatigue or inexperience, Okogie has slowed down as of late. He has shown glimpses of being lost on defense and being a step slow on most defensive rotations. He’s shown that he has the ability to lock down even the best in the league. But regardless of the reason for his current form, the Timberwolves need him immediately if they want to stay competitive.

Charlotte Has Failed To Execute In Clutch Situations

The Charlotte Hornets were famously a poor fourth quarter team even when Steve Clifford was the head coach. Now that James Borrego has entered as the leading man, the Hornets are still solving the mystery of their awful last quarters.

Since 2019 began, the Charlotte Hornets have been the worst team in the NBA as per their fourth-quarter performance. In the fourth, their offensive rating of 106.7 and a defensive rating of 120 ranks them 22nd and 29th respectively.

Offence is generally the main issue. The Hornets can’t score the ball. While Kemba Walkers usage rate increases, the focus on isolation play in order to limit turnovers has backfired on the Hornets. While on the defensive end, the Hornets just don’t maintain the size and athleticism to compete on the boards (except for Bismack Biyombo) without compromising their performance on the offensive end (exit Bismack Biyombo). Just two games back of eighth place is not bad for the Hornets, but they need to execute in the clutch if they want to make the Playoffs.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roster Notes

F Robert Covington – 6 Mar 2019 – Out (Ankle) – Interim head coach Ryan Saunders said there is no timetable for Covington’s return to action, according to Jace Frederick of Twincities.com.

F Luol Deng – 18 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Sore Left Achilles) – Deng is listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s (Mar 19) game.

G Derrick Rose – 18 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Right Elbow Soreness) – Rose is listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s (Mar 19) game.

G Jeff Teague – 18 Mar 2019 – Out (Left Foot Inflammation) – Teague has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 19) game.

Charlotte Hornets Roster Notes

G Tony Parker – 18 Mar 2019 – Out (Rest) – Parker has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 19) game.

C Cody Zeller – 18 Mar 2019 –

Day To Day (Left Knee Soreness) – Zeller is Doubtful for Tuesday’s (Mar 19) game.

Head-to-Head: Andrew Wiggins (MIN) vs Jeremy Lamb (CHA)

Two scoring wings face off when the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Charlotte Hornets meet. Andrew Wiggins has been underwhelming while Jeremy Lamb has improved overall, but both are crucial in their respective fights to get back into the NBA Playoffs. Both Andrew Wiggins and Jeremy Lamb are sure to be keyed in for this match.

Andrew Wiggins

Small Forward | 6-8, 194lb (203cm, 87kg) | Kansas | Exp. 4 Years

17.5 PPG | 2.3 APG | 4.8 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .398 FG% | .334 3P%

Wiggins put up near identical performances in his last two games and they weren’t performances to be proud of. In two games he’s contributed 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists on 12-34 shooting. The Timberwolves need more from Wiggins and his inability to score the ball efficiently has reduced his value. The Wolves are short on the wing so he is still getting minutes, but every game going forward will help clarify his value to the Wolves in the future.

Jeremy Lamb

Shooting Guard | 6-5, 185lb (196cm, 83kg) | Conneticut | Exp. 6 Years

15.2 PPG | 2.2 APG | 5.6 RPG | 1.1 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 1.1 TOV | .441 FG% | .338 3P%

Jeremy Lamb is having a career year under James Borrego and the Charlotte Hornets. Once thought to be a spot-up option, Lamb has shown himself to be a capable second option to Kemba Walker in isolation situations. He’s not shy from deep, shooting 8-21 in his last three matches. Considering the Wolves perimeter defense is weak, expect Lamb to try and take advantage off of screens and in the one-on-one.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Charlotte Hornets Predictions and Odds

The oddsmakers have the Minnesota Timberwolves favored over the Charlotte Hornets by 2.5, with an over/under of 109.