Minnesota (5-4) at New Orleans (4-6)

Cloudy Currently: Oklahoma City, OK
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Nov 23, 2005
  • TV: FSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Timberwolves try again for their first road win of the season when they meet the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Minnesota has won seven straight games against the Hornets and has not lost since a 102-98 setback on Nov. 13, 2002.

But the Timberwolves have lost all three road games this season by a combined 17 points. Minnesota had road losing streaks of five and seven games last season.

A win would also give Minnesota a season-high three-game winning streak.

The Timberwolves beat the Charlotte Bobcats, 102-89 Saturday night, behind a breakout game from center Michael Olowokandi.

The eight-year veteran and top scored 12 of his season-high 18 points in the fourth quarter and added eight rebounds and four blocks.

“I’ll tell you what, he’s been super the last couple of weeks,” Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said of the top overall pick in the 1998 draft. “As long as he’s playing well, we’ll keep going to him.”

Olowokandi, who entered the game averaging 8.6 points, shot 64 percent from the field on 9 of 14 shooting.

“This is the best I have felt physically,” said Olowokandi, largely considered a disappointment in his first two seasons with the Timberwolves. “It’s been a tough couple of years. I give a lot of credit to my teammates and coaches that have been working with me.”

Kevin Garnett, who scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Minnesota, was able to rest in the fourth quarter as Olowokandi took over. A balanced Timmberwolves offense also got double-digit performances from Wally Szczerbiak (15 points), Troy Hudson (13) and rookie Rashad McCants (11).

Minnesota has shot 53 percent from the field over the last two games and 48 percent on the season. On the other end of the court, the defensive-minded Timberwolves are holding opponents to just 43 percent from the field.

While the Timberwolves have been shooting well, the Hornets shot just 40 percent (31 of 78) in their 103-91 loss Monday to the Philadelphia 76ers, snapping a two-game winning streak.

“We were happy with two straight wins and that was satisfying enough for us instead of trying to come in here and get one against a very good basketball team,” said Hornets coach Byron Scott, whose team was outrebounded 50-38.

Power forward David West led New Orleans with 20 points and nine rebounds while J.R. Smith added 17 and Speedy Claxton had 15.

West averaged 12.4 points in the first eight games before scoring a career-high 34 against Orlando followed by his effort against the 76ers.

Rookie Chris Paul, who leads New Orleans with 16.6 points per game, had scored more than 20 points in two consecutive games before posting just nine against Philadelphia.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 22): Timberwolves - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, Northwest Division. Hornets - 4th place, 4 1/2 GB, Southwest Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Timberwolves - F Szczerbiak, F Garnett, C Olowokandi, G Trenton Hassell, G Marko Jaric. Hornets - F Bostjan Nachbar, F West, C P.J. Brown, G Kirk Snyder, G Paul.

TEAM LEADERS: Timberwolves - Garnett, 21.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 5.8 apg. Hornets - Paul, 16.6 ppg and 6.3 apg; Brown, 8.5 rpg.

2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Timberwolves, 4-0.

LAST MEETING: April 18, 2005; Timberwolves, 102-99. At New Orleans, Szczerbiak scored 18 points and Sam Cassell added 16 to lead the Timberwolves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Timberwolves - 0-3 on the road; Hornets - 2-3 at home.

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