Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves (10-9) @ New Orleans Hornets (5-13)

It’s difficult to write about the game tonight in New Orleans without thinking about National Tragedies. Disasters like Katrina and Connecticut bounce through your consciousness and thoughts of avoidable catastrophe vs. natural disaster argue temporarily before you can shake free and try and focus on the hazy collection of daily-type thoughts again.

Will Alexey Shved get his first start? Will Anthony Davis eat or be eaten? What about all of those Ryan Anderson trade rumors I’ve read about? How much do I dislike Austin Rivers? How many children will have to die before the N.R.A. considers changing its stance on gun control?

Dang, there it goes again. Ricky Christmas is tomorrow. Happy thoughts.

Hornets probable starting lineup:

PG Greivis Vasquez

SG Austin Rivers

SF Al-Farouq Aminu

PF Ryan Anderson

C Robin Lopez

Ryan Anderson was brought off the bench earlier this season before Davis was (literally) knocked out of the starting lineup. He could return to the bench if the Hornets had anybody else who could get in a groove scoring the ball. Anderson leads the team in scoring on the season, at 18 a game, and is at 20 per game over the last 5.

Aminu had been a bit of a success story in the earlier moments of the season, shooting 47% and averaging 7 boards a game. He has fallen off over his last 5, averaging just 5 points and 5 rebounds a game on 38% shooting. Aminu isn’t alone in his struggles, as the Hornets as a team have shot 42% for the month of December and starting point guard Vasquez is 8 points and 31% shooting over the last 5.

Limited to 8 games due to a concussion and ankle injury, Davis is averaging 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks a game on 49% shooting. Portland’s Damian Lillard and Davis would seem to be a two-horse race for Rookie of the Year (New Orleans plays in Portland on Sunday).

Wolves probable starting lineup:

PG Luke Ridnour

SG J.J. Barea

SF Andrei Kirilenko

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

I’m gonna take a guess that Adelman will roll with Barea at the starting shooting guard spot, just because Rivers isn’t exactly a physically intimidating presence and he’ll want Alexey Shved to stick with the second team to maximize his playmaking and scoring opportunities.

Although, it would be a great opportunity to let the rookie go at the other rookie. Shved has earned it.

Pek took the 5-days rest between the Cleveland and Denver game and threw up 22 points and 11 boards on 7-10 shooting and 8-8 from the line — with 2 blocks to boot. Here’s hoping the big guy’s ankles are healthy and he can build on the success with a stomping of Robin Lopez.

Between Lopez and Jason Smith, the Hornets have some bigs to throw at Pek, as well as Davis patrolling the lane defensively. Love and Pek could have a challenge on their hands.

It’s tough to say whether to expect a bounce-back game from Love’s 3-17 game against Denver, or consider his 10-19 game against Cleveland the outlier — he is shooting 32% over the last 5. Anderson is often referred to as “Love-lite”. Tonight is an opportunity to prove it.

Topics: Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, Preview, Ryan Anderson

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