vs. New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center, 6 p.m. Saturday
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Chris Hine's preview:
Opening bell: The Wolves defeated the Pelicans 122-101 at home Nov. 8 when the Pelicans were down several key players. New Orleans is still banged up, but they'll likely be healthier than they were in the previous matchup, assuming they don't suffer any significant injuries against Denver on Friday. The Wolves enter Saturday's tilt on the heels of their first loss in eight games, a 133-115 loss Wednesday to Phoenix on the second night of a back to back.
Watch him: Zion Williamson didn't play in the first meeting, but he was back in the Pelicans' lineup Friday. Williamson is off the numbers he posted in 29 games a season ago, when he was in the early conversations for MVP prior to getting injured. His field-goal percentage is down from 61% to 52%. That's almost all two-point attempts because Williamson has taken just one three all season. His free-throw percentage is down to 59% from 71%.
Injuries: Jordan McLaughlin remains out for the Wolves because of a right MCL sprain. For New Orleans, C.J. McCollum remains out because of a collapsed lung. Guard Jose Alvarado entered Friday's game doubtful because of a right ankle sprain. Larry Nance Jr. was out because of a right rib fracture, while Trey Murphy III remains out after left knee surgery.
Forecast: The Wolves are the healthier team, and they will come in the fresher team on two days' rest. Saturday provides a chance to rebound from Wednesday's lackluster showing and finish this five-game road trip 4-1. The Wolves will have to worry about Williamson and Ingram, but they will have more talent on the floor and should win.