THE STORY: The Minnesota Timberwolves and host New Orleans Hornets will take identical records into their game Friday night. The Timberwolves have lost four of five and coach Rick Adelman was contemplating lineup changes after Tuesday’s 111-100 loss to Chicago. Adelman has been bringing the combination of Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Tolliver off the bench, but the team’s slow starts have put theTimberwolves in early deficits. The jobs of starters Darko Milicic, Wes Johnson and Wayne Ellington could be in jeopardy. A lack of offense has been the biggest problem for the Hornets, who are averaging 87.1 points a game. New Orleans hasn’t scored 100 points in a game this season and has lost seven of eight. Injuries to Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza have tested the Hornets’ depth. Gordon will likely miss at least two more weeks with a knee injury while Ariza, who has missed the last five games with a strained groin, has begun some light running.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CST (New Orleans)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (3-7): Minnesota is playing shorthanded. Forward Michael Beasley (sprained right foot) and guard J.J. Barea (sprained left ankle) are sidelined indefinitely. It’s not known when either will return. Forward Kevin Love was away from the team Thursday because of personal reasons, but is expected to play against the Hornets. Adelman had only nine healthy players at Thursday’s practice.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (3-7): New Orleans ended a six-game losing streak with a victory in Denver on Monday, but fell at home to Oklahoma City 95-85 on Wednesday. The Hornets made only one of their 16 3-point attempts and missed their last 12. Carl Landry and Chris Kaman are both averaging 19 points in the last two games. Kaman is averaging 11.7 points and shooting 51 percent from the field.
1. Love has averaged 16.5 points the last two games, but has hit 8 of 34 shots from the field.
2. New Orleans is shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 27.5 percent on 3-pointers.
3. Minnesota won two of three from New Orleans last season, but the Hornets have taken seven of the last 10 meetings.
PREDICTION: Timberwolves 87, Hornets 86.