Minnesota At Charlotte
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Friday, March 14, 2014
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
With four wins in their last five games the Charlotte Bobcats are looking to solidify their playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. Charlotte enters play seventh in the East, two games ahead of eighth place Atlanta with a comfortable 5 1/2 game cushion over ninth place New York. "Confidence is everything," guard Kemba Walker told the Charlotte Observer recently, "and I think we have a lot of confidence at this time."
Minnesota has alternated wins and losses in its last four games but seeks their first four-game road win streak in five years. The Timberwolves are coming off a 112-101 win over lowly Milwaukee in which a late rally was needed as the Bucks built a 10-point lead in the third quarter. "We played harder in the second half," forward Kevin Love explained simply, adding, "We knew they have had their struggles and we were the better team."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), SportSouth (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (32-31): After allowing Milwaukee, the NBA's second-worst shooting team, to hit 15 of their first 21 attempts on Tuesday, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman laid into his group at halftime. "I told them we were lucky to be down six," Adelman told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "We were just oo soft. They made a lot of shots but we were letting them go wherever they wanted to go," he added." Love, whose 26.5 point average ranks fourth in the NBA, paced the Minnesota offense with 27 points against the Bucks.
ABOUT THE BOBCATS (31-34): The Bobcats may still be three games under .500 but in the NBA's moribund Eastern Conference, that isn't putting a damper on the spirits of what appears to be a playoff-bound team. "We've beaten some really good teams," noted Walker, who added, "As long as we compete (we can play with) the best every night." Guard Gary Neal, who has averaged 11.9 points in seven appearances since being acquired from Milwaukee in February, said bluntly, "I made a mistake," and is expected to return to the Charlotte lineup after sitting Wednesday for what the team called an internal issue.
1. Charlotte is 12-7 against Minnesota all-time and has won six of the last nine games in the head-to-head series.
2. Minnesota has not won four straight road games since Jan. 3-19, 2009.
3. Timberwolves PG J.J. Barea finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting against Milwaukee totaling just 14 points in his previous three games, shooting 5-of-25 from the field.
PREDICTION: Timberwolves 109, Bobcats 100
Stats and Records
Charlotte Off vs
95.6 Points For
102.4 Points Against