Hornets, Wolves destined for shootout
Kemba Walker has carried the Charlotte Hornets for the bulk of the season. Now that he’s sharing the stage with a rising sidekick, though, the scene-stealers of the Southeast Division are enjoying unprecedented offensive success.
As Charlotte (33-28) aims to sustain its torrid pace against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at 7 p.m. ET, the Eastern Conference’s No. 6 seed suddenly sees major signs of life from Nicolas Batum. The small forward racked up 31 points in Friday’s 108-101 triumph over Indiana.
Batum’s resurgence after a two-month slump cements the host squad’s status as a 9.5-point favorite this evening, with online sports book Bovada.lv also anticipating a high-scoring affair in general.
But while the total comes in at 212 points, these two teams relish pushing the pace. The Hornets have averaged 117.7 points over their last three contests. They’ve made 10 or more 3s in all three victories, too, thanks to Walker’s continued marksmanship.
The young trio of Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine gives Minnesota (20-43) a chance of matching Charlotte’s freewheeling style. In fact, the Timberwolves shot a franchise-best 68.4 percent in Saturday’s 132-118 win over Indiana.
Charlotte supporters, however, will point to the other end of the floor – and justifiably so. Minnesota hasn’t allowed fewer than 103 points since Jan. 31 at Portland.
Let it rain buckets at Time Warner Cable Arena.
MONDAY NBA FREE PICK: TIMBERWOLVES/HORNETS OVER 212