NBA Betting Friday: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans HornetsMinnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Hornets
Tip off: 8 PM EST, Friday, Dec 14
Spread: MIN -4
The Minnesota Timberwolves have popped off a 10-9 record, and for many Timberwolves fans, the season still hasn’t really officially begun. That’s because they are eagerly anticipating the return of star Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who impressed the league last year in his rookie season. Rubio and Kevin Love promise to pair up to be a great tandem for the Wolves for years to come, and Rubio’s 2012-13 debut should happen either tonight, or very soon.
In the meantime, all the Wolves have done is be one of the best rebounding teams in the league, due mainly part of course to the dominance of Love on the boards. Love is averaging 14.2 rebounds per game this season, and Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko both average seven-plus rebounds per game, as well.
Kirilenko has earned every dollar of the highly scrutinized $10 million per year contract he signed over the summer. Kirilenko took a year off basketball to be with his family in Russia, and he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s posted 13 points per game and is still a beast defensively, with nearly two steals and two blocks per game.
Adding to the great play of Kirilenko, Pekovic and Love has been guards Luke Ridnour and Alexey Shved, who both score in double figures as well. It’s unclear how the return of Rubio will affect both of their minutes, but an inevitable decrease in minutes is on the horizon for both Ridnour and Shved.
The New Orleans Hornets have been a promising disaster. By that, the meaning is that they have won just five of 21 games, but have had some promising pieces on their roster show their skills. Both No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the newly acquired Ryan Anderson are having great seasons.
The problem is just that the Hornets are missing their best player Eric Gordon, and there’s no timetable on his return. Without Gordon, they are a team without a go-to player, as Davis still has strides to make and Anderson is more of a complementary player than a go-to guy.
Greivis Vasquez has been very good, too. It’s encouraging because so far Austin Rivers has been bust city. Vasquez is averaging 11.9 points per game and 8.2 assists per game, while Rivers is shooting 27.7 percent from the floor and has a PER of just 6.5. Rivers came out too early, and that’s not really a matter of debate. He’s seeing nearly 28 minutes per game and accomplishing very little of merit.
The Timberwolves should roll over the Hornets in this one, even if it is in New Orleans. The fun thing to see will be watching Anthony Davis test his luck against the league’s best power forward Kevin Love. Aside from that, though, expect NBA oddsmakers to have called this one dead-on with a Wolves victory. If Rubio returns, it could be even more lopsided than the NBA odds of MIN -4.