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  • Minnesota, which is 3 1/2 games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference and has lost eight of the past 11, visit the struggling Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night in hopes of righting the ship for the final 15 games of the regular season. The Timberwolves have struggled in Charlotte over the years and have lost the last four times at Time Warner Cable Arena.
  • Both Minnesota and Charlotte will again be shorthanded. The Timberwolves will be without the services of Nikola Pekovic (bone spurs, right ankle) for the fifth consecutive game while Jose Barea (bruised right quadricep) will be out for the third straight game. The Bobcats will be without Cory Higgins (lower back strain) and could be without the services of Tyrus Thomas (right elbow bursitis) and might see limited minutes from D.J. Augustin (knee tendonitis) who missed Wednesday’s practice. DeSagana Diop (right hamstring strain) and Eduarda Najera (right knee inflammation) have been out recently for Charlotte, but will be active tonight.
  • Charlotte coach Paul Silas thinks his starters could learn a thing or two from the team’s reserve unit. “The first unit is not passing the ball around as well as the second unit,” Silas said. “They want to go 1-on-1. They’re looking for any shot not the right shot.” The Bobcats bench has averaged 49 points compared to 39 for the starters over the last three games.
  • Minnesota’s Kevin Love has been on a streak of late. Over the past 10 games, Love is averaging 29.6 points, 13.9 rebounds all on 47.5 percent shooting. He has been mentioned as an MVP candidate on Paul Silas is in agreement. “I don’t see anybody doing more for his club than him.” Love will present a match-up problem as well for the Bobcats who have been allowing teams to score at will in the paint.
  • The Charlotte Bobcats are last in points per game (87.6), last in field goal percentage (41.6), second-to-last in rebounds per game (39.2) and third-to-last in points allowed per game (100.7).

Derek S. Smith

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