New Orleans Pelicans vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN

When: Saturday, January 12th, 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports North, Fox Sports New Orleans | WRNO 99.5 FM, 830 WCCO

New Orleans Pelicans (Away)

Head Coach: Alvin Gentry {All-Time 467-526 | MIA, DET, LAC, PHX, NOP}

For another year the New Orleans Pelicans are struggling at a time when many thought they would be flourishing. With a record of 20-22, their sub-.500 record places them twelfth in the Western Conference.

Anthony Davis is still doing an excellent job leading the Pelicans, as they’ve recently maintained a three-game win streak. Their match against the Minnesota Timberwolves will be the first in a five-game road trip for the Pelicans.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a dangerous team despite their record. The combined efforts of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will force the Pelicans to come together as a unit to overcome the Wolves’ dynamic scoring pai.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Home)

Head Coach: Ryan Saunders (interim) {All-Time 1-0 | MIN}

Things have not gone swimmingly for the Timberwolves after the departure of Jimmy Butler. They also released Tom Thibodeau and are led by first time head coach and son of late Wolves head coach Flip Saunders.

The Timberwolves, despite their struggles, are resting at 11th in the Western Conference. With a record of 20-21, they are still within striking distance of making a playoff spot if they can lock in for the remainder of the regular season schedule.

The Pelicans are a dangerous team for the Wolves to take on. They aren’t deep, but the one-two punch of Holiday and Davis is difficult for any team to manage. With the skills of Davis, don’t be surprised to see the Wolves swarm him and challenge the Pelicans supporting cast to make shots.

What’s At Stake?

Since the inception of their franchises, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves have met only twenty times. In those matchups, the Pelicans lead the all-time series 11-9.

A win for the Pelicans would keep them twelfth in the standings, seeing as the Timberwolves ahead of them have 1.5 games on them.

A win for the Timberwolves would break their tie with the Kings and place them in a tie for ninth in the West with the Jazz.

Questions to answer

Can the Pelicans continue to win inside?

Can the Wolves shore up their defence?

We are going to compare the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Pelicans lead the NBA in two-point field-goals

At 33.5 two-point field-goals per game, the New Orleans Pelicans are top when it comes to scoring inside of the arc. As a team they can absolutely score, led by Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. It is the defensive side that generally disappoints them.

The Pelicans will have to take a step forward in terms of ball security as well, considering they are 24th in turnover percentage at 11.5%. Four Pelicans players average more than two turnovers per game which will have to be taken care of against an energetic Timberwolves defence.

While they are not the most stout defensive team in the NBA, their defence is led by Robert Covington – an All-Defence level defender. They may not be perfect, but energy is key to the Wolves defence and with the Pelicans ability to score the ball they will surely have their gameplay locked in.

The Wolves are 21st eFG% and 28th in DRB%

The Wolves are certainly not incapable of locking up on the defensive side of the ball. They boast athletic talents in Towns and Wiggins, a veteran in Gibson, and an All-Defensive player and an All-Star in Robert Covington and Jeff Teague.

The problem for the Wolves may have been psychological all season. With the impending Butler drama combined with the recent departure of Thibodeau, there’s been a notable lack of effort in a number of performances by the Timberwolves.

The Pelicans are a team that like to attack the paint. With one of the leagues best pick-and-roll duos in Holiday and Davis, they will have to be particularly aware of their defensive rotation. If they can limit inside looks and win the rebounding battle, the Wolves should be able to come out with a win.

New Orleans Pelicans Roster Notes

G E’Twuan Moore – Day To Day (Leg) – Moore did not play in Wednesday’s (Jan 9) game.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roster Notes

F Robert Covington – Day To Day (Ankle) – Covington is listed as OUT for Tuesday’s (Jan 8) game.

G Derrick Rose – Day To Day (Ankle) – Rose has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Jan 8) game.

Head-to-Head: Anthony Davis vs Karl-Anthony Towns

Anthony Davis

Power Forward/Center | 6-10, 253lb (208cm, 114kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 7 Years

28.9 PPG | 4.4 APG | 13.2 RPG | 1.8 SPG | 2.7 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .514 FG% | .321 3P%

Karl-Anthony Towns

Center | 7-0, 248lb (213cm, 112kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 4 Years

22.1 PPG | 3.0 APG | 12.3 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.9 BPG | 3.0 TOV | .496 FG% | .380 3P%

Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns presents an NBA matchup of talented big men. Both with an incredible amount of skill and remaining potential, to this point in their respective careers neither has accomplished what they want in the post-season.

What more is there to say about Anthony Davis? He is likely one of the NBA’s top five best players, but the lack of success for his squad forces critics to severely underrate him. There’s not a matchup that Davis can’t exploit, combined with his defensive abilities he is near unstoppable in today’s game.

Towns’ stats have taken a bit of a hit so far this season. Surely in part due to the Timberwolves’ inherent disfunction, the entire team has suffered as a result. That doesn’t change the fact that Towns is an incredible inside-outside threat for the Timberwolves. He can score on any player guarding him, it will just be a matter of focus. With most of the distractions dispelled from the Wolves organization at this point, look for Towns to flourish once more.

New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Minnesota Timberwolves favoured over the New Orleans Pelicans by 2.5, with an over/under of 110.