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Game 42: Wolves vs. Spurs Preview

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Turn that frown upside down Karl, the third quarter is coming.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves at Spurs
7:30 pm CST
FS North

Uh-oh, game 42 of the season means it is officially the third quarter of the Wolves season! Look out Greg Popovich, the Wolves historically dominate the third quarter. Over the past three seasons, the Wolves have made an about face come game 42 of the season.

Game 42 of 2015-16:

  • Wolves 117 Suns 87
  • The Wolves had 7 players in double-figures in a rout of the Phoenix Phloppers. Ricky Rubio led the team in scoring and Andre Miller scored a point

Game 42 of 2014-15:

  • Wolves 82 Pelicans 94
  • Not much the Wolves could do in the infamous Dante Cunningham Revenge Game. Thaddeus Young was the only Wolves player to outscore the Cunning-hammer.
  • Chill... Wolves were tanking for KAT.

Game 42 of 2013-14:

  • Wolves 121 Warriors 120
  • Yeah, that’s right. Ever heard of the Golden State Warriors? The Splash Bros? No match for the Wolves in Game 42.
  • My main man Pek could not be stopped. 22 points, 14 rebounds, 1 foul, 17 tattoos.

That’s right, according to my metrics, the Wolves have a 66.67 percent chance of beating the team Tim Duncan used to play for. Many teams become fatigued after the first half, not the Wolves. Call it good coaching. Call it mental toughness. Call it whatever you like. The Wolves win in the third quarter of the season. The third quarter is the Wolves quarter and it is upon us.

Over the past three seasons, the Wolves have averaged a winning percentage uptick of .100-points in the third quarter of the season compared to the first half of the season. For this next chunk of 20 games, it is very safe to assume the Wolves will win 44.1 percent of their games, up from their current winning rate of .341. Get excited.

Wolves After the Midway Point of the Season

2015-16:

First Half of Season— .293 winning percentage

Third Quarter of Season— .350 winning percentage

2014-15:

First Half of Season— .170 winning percentage

Third Quarter of Season— .350 winning percentage

2013-14:

First Half of Season— .488 winning percentage

Third Quarter of Season— .550 winning percentage

If you could possibly need more statistical evidence...

Revered data-based journalism website Fivethirtyeight.com (who Gave Trump A Better Chance Than Almost Anyone Else) also see the Wolves bucking their first-half trend. FiveThirtyEight's 2016-17 NBA predictions have the Wolves finishing the season 32-50. Four games better than the Wolves current pace!

How could the current Wolves season possibly suggest this!? FiveThirtyEight has mined the data. They have good degrees. They know about parabolas. They know all of the things. FiveThirtyEight knows the #ThirdQuarter looms.

You may be getting excited about the NBA Draft Lottery, hold your horses. Sure, the Wolves have one more win than the Phoenix Suns who currently have a 55.8% chance of landing a top-3 pick. But before drooling over Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, or Dennis Smith know that the third quarter is here. These optimistic lottery odds are merely a mirage that is soon to be eviscerated by the Wolves third quarter tornado.


Expected Starting Lineups

Timberwolves

PG - Ricky Rubio: 7.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.9 APG, 37.3% FG, 24.7% 3pt FG

SG - Zach LaVine: 20.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 46.7% FG, 41.4% 3pt FG

SF - Andrew Wiggins: 21.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 44.6% FG, 34.2% 3pt FG

PF - Gorgui Dieng: 10.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 52.7% FG, 31.6% 3pt FG

C - Karl-Anthony Towns: 21.8 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 48.8% FG, 30.5% 3pt FG

Injuries: Nikola Pekovic is out (all of the injuries)

Spurs

PG- Tony Parker: 11.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 4.7 APG, 47.9% FG, 40.5% 3pt FG

SG- Danny Green: 7.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 44.8% FG, 44.2% 3pt FG

SF- Kawhi Leonard: 24.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 48.3% FG, 41.3% 3pt FG

PF- LaMarcus Aldridge: 17.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 50.4% FG, 51.7% 3pt FG

C- Pau Gasol: 11.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 51.0% FG, 46.5% 3pt FG

Injuries: Dejounte Murray is out (ankle)

Cool... All the Spurs starters make over 40 percent of their three-pointers. Big whoop.

Does not matter.

The third quarter starts tonight. And the third quarter has and always will be the Wolves quarter.

Prediction: Wolves 100 Spurs 79

Net-Rating by Quarter:

1st: +1.8 (11th in NBA)

2nd: +6.0 (6th in NBA)

3rd: -9.5 (29th in NBA)

4th: -6.7 (27th in NBA)

Our blogging buddies are over at Pounding the Rock. Be excellent.

Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.