Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 things to watch vs. the New Orleans Pelicans

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 3: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 3: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are 17-19, hoping to try and get a .500 record at one point in January. And in order to do that, they need to beat a similarly talented team in the 16-21 New Orleans Pelicans.

Our own Ben Beecken summarized the most recent win by the Minnesota Timberwolves, in a surprisingly easy win of 113-104, coming against the Miami Heat. The Wolves beating up the Heat, and cooling down their recent hot streak, makes for some solid morale heading into tonight.

The Wolves flew to New Orleans over the night, and are hoping to catch the Pelicans off guard. The New Orleans Pelicans have lost 6 out of their past 7 games, and the Wolves are on a four game win streak on the road – so all the signs are pointing toward an easy-ish win.

Moreover, Karl-Anthony Towns is coming off one of the best games of his career, possibly a top-3 performance. But here’s the issue, the Pelicans have a highly touted big man who’s also been playing extremely hot as of late, which starts our first 3 things to watch out for in this game.

1. Anthony Davis is a unicorn on steroids

Anthony Davis is averaging career highs this season with 28.5 PPG, 13.0 TRB, 4.5 AST, and 4.3 STKS (steals + blocks). Not to mention how hot Davis has been in the past three games, averaging 34 PPG along with 16 TRB, a complete monster.

Davis has been an extremely popular name on the trade block lately and is playing like a perennial superstar that is hoping to win an MVP, and it may just be possible.

As for the big man match up, Towns and Davis are tied at a record of 5-5. And even though Davis’ numbers have been objectively better than Towns in that 10 game span, KAT has prevailed, mostly because of the porous team Davis has played with for years. In fact, Davis won their first five match ups together and Towns has won the past five in a row, so let’s go for six.

2. The point guard/injury battle

Wolves’ point guards Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague are most likely out for the game tonight against the Pelicans. And unfortunately for Minny, the Pelicans are finally getting back their true starting point guard Elfrid Payton, which will take some stress off Jrue Holiday and his facilitating struggles so he can help AD with scoring.

Luckily, the real key factor the why the Pelicans haven’t been doing well lately isn’t the loss of Payton, it’s mostly due to how much space they’ve lost on the court since Nikola Mirotic has been out, and he will continue to be out tonight.

It will be up to Tyus Jones to run the floor like he did against the Miami Heat last night and open up players in a fast paced game. Jones totaled 12 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals – compiling a well-rounded line.

3. Andrew Wiggins needs to wake up

The only consistent part to Andrew Wiggins‘ game this season has been his inconsistent play, wrap your head around that one.

In Wiggs’ past 3 games, he’s averaging 14.3 PPG with horrific shooting splits of 33.3/33.3/52.9. I don’t know where to begin with how bad that is, there is no other option but for him to wake up tonight.

However, in questionably a top-3 game this season from Andrew Wiggins, we saw him torch the Pelicans in a 107-100 win at home. Wiggs had a nice stat line of 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, hopefully we can see more of that consistent play tonight.


Alas, the Wolves’ don’t have any excuses, and they can’t afford to end 2018 in a loss. The Pelicans are a good basketball team, but this is the western conference and the Wolves’ don’t have time to let Davis score 50 and have an early Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Next. Top 5 memorable moments of 2018. dark

I have the Wolves winning this game in a late-thriller, let’s say between a 5-7 point differential; tune in tonight against the Pelicans 7 PM Central time.

Have a happy New Years Eve from Dunking With Wolves.