Hornets-Timberwolves Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 10, 2012
Regrouping from their latest defeat might not be the only concern facing the Minnesota Timberwolves. All-Star Kevin Love and talented rookie Ricky Rubio could both be sidelined Saturday night when the Timberwolves try to hand the visiting New Orleans Hornets a fifth consecutive defeat. Averaging 25.5 points and 13.8 rebounds this season, Love was scratched due to back spasms prior to Friday's 105-102 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Timberwolves led by as many as 14 in the first quarter and nine at halftime even without Love, but the Lakers outrebounded them 45-34, grabbed 17 offensive boards and outscored the hosts 54-40 in the paint. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Minnesota (21-20), which is ninth in the Western Conference, one-half game behind Houston for the final playoff spot. Love had averaged 33.3 points in his previous four games. "With K-Love out it really does hurt, but we really competed out there," rookie Derrick Williams told the Timberwolves' official website after he posted 22 points and 10 rebounds while starting in place of Love. Center Nikola Pekovic did his best to man the paint without Love, scoring 25 points and pulling down 13 boards in his return from a two-game absence due to a sore foot. "Pek is just scary big, scary strong," forward Michael Beasley said. Though Love could return for this contest, Rubio's condition seems more serious after the point guard had to be helped off the floor in the final 16 seconds Friday when his left knee buckled as the result of a collision with Kobe Bryant. Rubio, the 2009 fifth overall pick from Spain who is playing in his first NBA season, had 15 points and 10 assists prior to the injury. The Timberwolves are already without backup guard J.J. Barea, who could miss a second straight contest with a sprained left ankle. Love had 34 points with 15 rebounds and Rubio added 12 points, nine assists and six rebounds as the Timberwolves overcame a 34.3-percent shooting effort and 16 turnovers to win 87-80 at New Orleans on Jan. 13. Minnesota has won three of four in this series following a six-game losing streak. The Hornets (9-11) have still won eight of their last 10 visits to Minnesota, but they arrive this time as losers of four in a row including a 110-97 defeat Friday at Denver. "I didn't think as a whole we brought the energy that was necessary to get through those runs they made,'' New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "Obviously we have guys out there that don't know what we do, but some of the stuff that was happening it was just simple basketball plays and we weren't making them." Lance Thomas had 18 points off the bench and Jarrett Jack added 17 for New Orleans, which fell to 5-15 on the road this season. Jack has combined for 42 points on 58.1 percent shooting in his last two games, but he scored only eight in the January loss to Minnesota.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50


Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

10 notable winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker