The Minnesota Timberwolves have limped to their best start in 11 years. The Wolves look to shake off some more injuries on Wednesday night and record a second straight victory as they play host to the Charlotte Bobcats, winners of back-to-back games for the first time in 19 months.
Minnesota has claimed victory in five of its first seven games this season despite opening up the campaign without stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. They have still managed their best start since beginning the 2001-02 season with six wins in a row.
It hasn't been easy for the Timberwolves, who have played without guard J.J. Barea for the last three games due to a sprained left foot and fellow guard Brandon Roy for the past two contests because of a sore right knee. They are both questionable for Wednesday as is center Nikola Pekovic, who left in the third quarter of Monday's 90-82 win over the Dallas Mavericks because of a sprained left ankle.
Also, forward Chase Budinger underwent surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee on Tuesday and is slated to miss 3-to-4 months of action.
Pekovic still led Minnesota with 20 points and added six rebounds in Monday's win before his exit, while Andrei Kirilenko finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Alexey Shved also wrapped the contest with 16 points.
"It was a great team win," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. "They came out and believed they could win. Our defense was terrific all night long."
The Timberwolves will certainly miss Love tonight. He tallied 70 points and 37 rebounds in two wins over the Bobcats as Minnesota swept the season series after having lost eight of the previous nine encounters.
The Bobcats, the first of three straight opponents at home for the Timberwolves, got to .500 on Tuesday night thanks to a 92-76 win over the winless Washington Wizards. It marked the first time that Charlotte won consecutive games since April 11-13, 2011. The club failed to win two in a row at any point during last season's lockout-shortened campaign in which Charlotte produced just a 7-59 record.
The last time that the Bobcats won three straight came during a four-game run from March 25-30, 2011.
Ramon Sessions led Charlotte with 21 points and five rebounds in Tuesday's win, Kemba Walker poured in 17 points and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist notched 15 points and eight boards.
"Any time you can get any kind of winning streak in this league is a step in the right direction," Sessions said. "We knew sitting in the locker room that we should come out and get this one. That's what good teams do."
Charlotte played without guard Ben Gordon due to personal family reasons and his status for this game is unknown.
The Bobcats also made a roster move on Tuesday, sending guard Matt Carroll to the New Orleans Hornets earlier in the day for forward Hakim Warrick. The 30- year-old appeared in just one game this season with the Hornets, notching four points and a steal in just over seven minutes of action.