New Orleans Pelicans Preview: Keys to beating the Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans are playing back-to-back games on the road as they head up to Minnesota to face off against the Timberwolves twice in two days.

New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves last games

The Pelicans lost on Friday night to the Chicago Bulls 112-128. Brandon Ingram led the team with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Devonte’ Graham also had a decent night with 21/6/6. Herb Jones got his first career start on Saturday. He had six points on 3-of-4 shooting. An effective night, but we need to see him more aggressive with the ball and that will only happen with experience and minutes.

Minnesota is 1-0 on the season after getting a 124-106 win vs the Rockets. Karl-Anthony Towns had a double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Edwards also had a good game with 29 points. They had a strong first half scoring 72 points. The T-Wolves love to come out of the gate playing strong and physical. It will be a tough matchup for Jonas Valanciunas who will have to step out and defend KAT on the perimeter, but hopefully JV can make him pay on the other end.

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The 2021-22 season

This is the first time the Pels and T-Wolves are seeing each other in the regular season; however, they will see each other again on October 25th at the Target Center. After two games in two days, the next game is on November 11th at home. Their last regular-season meeting is at the Smoothie King Center on January 11th.


New Orleans leads the all-time series between the Timberwolves, 34-30. The Pelicans won the last game in an overtime thriller on May 1st, 2021. In that game, Zion Williamson scored 37 points and had eight assists (career-high). Jaxson Hayes had 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Keys to the game

To win on Saturday, the Pelicans need to have help off the bench. The second rotation can not have 26 points. Ingram and Graham need help with Zion out right now. Would love to see some more Kira Lewis minutes or even have him in the starting rotation so that the scoring would be more balanced between the units.

Rookie Trey Murphy III has been quiet so far but is due for a big game, and it would be nice to see him have it in Minnesota to help the Pelicans get their first win.

Defense, defense, defense. Pelicans need to be all over KAT and Edwards. They are explosive players so the Pelicans need to play physical and make them work on both ends. Herb Jones was solid on defense at times when guarding Zach Lavine, so hopefully, he is well rested for a back-to-back.

Cutting down turnovers would help the defense, as the Pels gave up 27 points off 17 turnovers including 24 fast break points against the Bulls.

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