Timberwolves vs. Pelicans preview: Load management will play big role


vs. New Orleans Pelicans, Target Center, 7 p.m., Wednesday

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Pregame reading: Point guard Jordan McLaughlin may be pushing for more minutes in the team's rotation.

Chris Hine's preview:

Opening bell: The Wolves and Pelicans square for the fourth and final time this season. The Wolves are 2-1 against New Orleans but lost the last matchup 121-107 in the only game Zion Williamson and C.J. McCollum have played against them this season.

Watch him: McCollum returned from a collapsed lung that caused him to miss several games earlier this season and is putting up career-high three-point shooting. He is shooting 43% from three-point range while averaging 19.9 points headed into New Orleans' game against visiting Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Injuries: The Wolves don't have any regular contributors listed on their injury report. For New Orleans, Trey Murphy entered Tuesday's game questionable because of left knee soreness while Matt Ryan was out following right elbow surgery.

Forecast: Williamson has rested three times on the tail end of back-to-backs for New Orleans, including a matchup against the Wolves on Nov. 18. That will be the big question for Wednesday's game: will he play? Williamson did play in both games the last time New Orleans had a back-to-back on Dec. 1 and 2. If he does, New Orleans will be a handful for the Wolves, who had trouble defending the Pelicans when they were at full strength the last time the teams played. If he doesn't play, the Wolves stand a much better chance of winning.

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