HORNETS AT TIMBERWOLVES, 8 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Hornets guard Eric Gordon will sit out tonight’s game with the Timberwolves, the second time this week he has been held out of the second night of a back-to-back. But Gordon’s right knee, which kept him out of 29 games this season due to soreness in his patella, isn’t the entire reason for this night off. Gordon said he played Friday night in Denver with a sore back, making coach Monty Williams’ decision to inactivate Gordon an easy one. Williams said he had no update on Gordon’s back, but the fifth-year guard said Friday that the soreness has affected his shooting accuracy. Gordon was 3-of-8 for nine points in 25 minutes against the Hornets.
  • New Orleans has allowed more than 100 points in seven of its last eight games, a problem considering the Hornets are 1-18 this year when their opponents reach triple-digits. They may get relief from that tendency tonight; Minnesota has reached 100 points only three times in its past 12 games, and hasn’t scored more than 101 points since Jan. 8.
  • Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez ranks third in the NBA in assists, averaging 9.4 per game, and he’s even better against Minnesota. Vasquez recorded a career-high 16 assists in the teams’ meeting Dec. 14, and added 13 in their Jan. 11 game.
  • Roger Mason Jr. will start in Gordon’s spot at guard alongside Vasquez for the Hornets, with Robin Lopez at center and Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu at forward. The Timberwolves will start Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour at guard, Nikola Pekovic at center, and Andrei Kirilenko and Derrick Williams at forward.
  • Even with Gordon out, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said he is concerned with the Wolves’ ability to match up with tall guards like Vazquez and Mason. The Wolves are missing guard Brandon Roy, so three of the four guards who get most of the playing time — Rubio, Ridnour and J.J. Barea — stand 6-4 or shorter. The small guards were exposed Friday night by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who had 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. “We’ve got to find some way to deal with that, but I don’t know what it is,” Adelman said. “Maybe play more zone, which I don’t like to do. But we’re being taken advantage of because of our size.” As they have been for several weeks, the Wolves are without Roy, Kevin Love, Malcolm Lee and Chase Budinger.
  • Minnesota has lost six straight games, and 11 of its last 12. The Wolves are 11-9 at home and have lost three straight in Target Center. New Orleans is 8-17 on the road and has lost three straight games.

Phil Miller

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