The Minnesota Timberwolves have a number of issues. Karl-Anthony Towns' absence at the start of the season, a fresh injury to D'Angelo Russell, a 12-day suspension for Malik Beasley and a new head coach. In short, the Wolves were caught in a storm.
The Charlotte Hornets also have a couple of injuries to Gordon Hayward and Cody Zeller. Despite that, however, they will look to pick up an easy win against the Minnesota Timberwolves come Wednesday.
Fixture: Charlotte Hornets vs Minnesota Timberwolves | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Wednesday, March 3rd, 8:00 PM ET (Thursday, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Charlotte Hornets Preview
The Charlotte Hornets are placed in eighth position in the Eastern Conference with a .471 win percentage and a 5-5 record in their last 10 games. Their home games have a better conversion rate and so they will need to be careful while visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Hornets' forward Gordon Hayward and center Cody Zeller didn't play the game against the Portland Trailblazers Monday night. Hayward, who is otherwise leading the team in scoring with 21.5 points per game, will be a game-time decision.
The Charlotte Hornets have found balance with LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Malik Monk and Caleb Martin all scoring in double digits in their last outing. However, the cause of concern lies with Bismack Biyombo and P.J. Washington, who combined for just 9 points in the loss against Portland.
Key Player - LaMelo Ball
The 19-year-old point-guard was a bumper pick for the Charlotte Hornets. Currently, LaMelo Ball is averaging 15.7 points, 6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He also has the highest Player Efficiency Rating in the team.
While the Charlotte Hornets lost their last game against the Trailblazers, it was LaMelo who shone bright. He tallied 30 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and a block. His overall presence on the court will be key if the Hornets are to enter the NBA 2020-2021 playoffs.
Charlotte Hornets Predicted Lineup
F P.J. Washington F Caleb Martin C Bismack Biyombo G LaMelo Ball G Terry Rozier
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves are still missing D'Angelo Russell. The star point-guard is out due to a knee injury and is not expected to join until the end of March. With nine losses in their last 10 games and an eight-game losing streak, it's possible that the Wolves are starting to give up.
Crafty point-guard Ricky Rubio displayed a hint of frustration after the Minnesota Timberwolves' 118-99 loss against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
Speaking in the post-game interview, Rubio said, "There's a lot of things we have to figure out and correct and get better. We've got to start somewhere and hopefully in the next few days we can fix that. It's more on us to compete, be in every game, start with everybody. Kat [Karl-Anthony Towns], Ant [Anthony Edwards], me, got to lead out there. Everybody's got to do a better job."
With 7 wins and 28 losses, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the worst performing team in the NBA right now. Their last playoff appearance came in the NBA 2016-2017 season when they had Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and a healthy KAT.
For the Minnesota Timberwolves, it would be prudent to focus on regrouping under their new coach, Chris Finch, and chart a way forward.
Key Player - Karl-Anthony Towns
The big man is one of the very few reasons that Minnesota Timberwolves fans have hope of the team's resurrection. In the loss against Phoenix, Towns registered a double-double - his 11th in the month of February. He ended up scoring 21 points (7-16 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 10 rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal.
If the Minnesota Timberwolves want to return to winning ways, it would be through KAT (and Ricky Rubio).
Minnesota Timberwoles Predicted lineup
F Jarred Vanderbilt F Josh Okogie C Karl-Anthony Towns G Anthony Edwards G Ricky Rubio
Hornets vs Timberwolves Match Prediction
The Minnesota Timberwolves are likely to achieve a 10-game losing streak when they face the Charlotte Hornets. Especially when the three players in the Wolves' starting lineup - Rubio, Vanderbilt and Okogie - are averaging 18 points per game collectively.
The Charlotte Hornets will need two straight wins from here to reach a win percentage of .500. With LaMelo Ball putting on a basketball clinic in every game, the feat looks fairly achievable.
Where to watch Hornets vs Timberwolves?
The game between the Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves will be televised nationally by NBA TV, and locally by FOX Sports Southeast Charlotte and Fox Sports North. For international audiences, the NBA matches are always broadcasted live on NBA League Pass.