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Game #37: Bobcats @ Timberwolves 2-on-3 Preview w/ PodCats

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Timberwolves Home Game

When: 8:00 PM ET

Where: Live at The Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Minnesota 17-18 105.2 (9) 102.5 (13) 100.5 (2)
Charlotte 15-21 96.8 (28) 100.2 (7) 95.0 (22)

Minnesota: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (DTD)
Charlotte: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Timberwolves Bobcats
PG Ricky Rubio Kemba Walker
SG Kevin Martin Gerald Henderson
SF Corey Brewer Chris Douglas-Roberts
PF Kevin Love Josh McRoberts
C Nikola Pekovic Al Jefferson
6th Man J.J. Barea Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network 1- Minnesota is the second fastest team in the league according to the PACE category – how does Charlotte slow this game down and why is it so important?

Spencer: Yeah, this one is interesting – Kemba and Hendo will presumably have nice games with defensively challenged Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin guarding them, but when the ball is sticking to our backcourt it usually means the game will be played at a quicker pace. Avoid quick, outside shots in this game and obviously take care of the ball and you can limit the Wolves run-out opportunities.

I tend to believe that a guy like Ramon Sessions will play a very important role for the Bobcats tonight – a guard who can dominate the ball + force action to the rim where he’s good at creating contact and getting to the charity stripe – that slows the tempo of any game down. Jefferson, as usual, will play a vital role in collapsing the Wolves defense as well.

Doug Branson (TDBsports.com / PodCats Show): Big Al MUST play well in this game. His outside shooting will be key against their lane stuffer Pekovic. If Jefferson and McRoberts can stretch Pek and Love out on defense expect Kemba and Sessions to have big games against Minnesota’s defensively liable backcourt.

2- McRoberts vs. Love. Can McBob slow him down, and if so, how?

Spencer: Doug is dead on with this one – speed Love up. Personally, I’d run doubles at Love on the catch as much as possible, but that’s not typically Clifford’s style. Essentially, it’s going to require McBob to be on his hip at all times and crowd him on the catch. From a team defense perspective, you just have to know where this guy is at all times and be very help-side wary.
Doug: To slow him down we must speed him up. Make him make quick decisions with the basketball. Don’t let him beat you with easy passes (he’s a skilled disher) and get physical with the inevitable Rubio/Love pick and roll.

3- After yet another disappointing home loss in their last game, Charlotte needs to step up on the road. Do they steal one tonight in Minny?

Spencer: I don’t think so. This should be a close game with both teams having at least one night’s rest, but this is a two-game road stretch that I unfortunately believe puts Charlotte on the outside looking in with the playoff hunt. Let’s all hope that the return of MKG on Tuesday can get the train back on the tracks.

Doug: Judging by the trends this year, yeah, why not? This is a frustrated Minnesota team and I think if we play physical defense early and use Big Al to slow things down I think we have a chance to feed into their lack of confidence.