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Game #60: Wolves vs. Kings

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The 60th must win game of the season

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves
You want a piece of this, Frank Mason? I didn’t think so.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves (28-31) vs. Sacramento Kings (31-28)

Game #60, Home Game #30
Target Center at 7:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports North
Radio: WCCO (830 AM)

You know how everyone likes to say “this is a must win game” as the season progresses and the standings and playoff positioning becomes more clear? Why don’t we just call every game a must win game if we aren’t going to reserve it for elimination games.

What’s up, Wolves fans! Welcome to Target Center tonight for the 60th must win game of the season!

With that being said, of course the Wolves cannot afford to leave Minneapolis without a win if they want to keep their slim 8th seed dreams alive. They’re favored (-3.5) to win tonight with a win probability of 67.6%.

Sacramento plays fast (103.6 possessions per game, 3rd in the NBA) and can easily get to cooking from deep so the Wolves will need to control the game in transition and defend the perimeter well. We’ve seen it before, including against this very Kings team, but the Wolves can get in deep water against teams that thrive with pace and space.

A quick look at the current Western Conference standings reveals little room for error.

Only four games behind the LA Clippers with the dangerous, upstart Kings and LeBron’s (also a King but the more reliable type) Lakers in between? What could possibly go wrong here for the Wolves?

Ja Rule was foolish enough in his attempt to “curse” the team, as if there hasn’t been one. Tricks on Jeffrey Bruce Atkins (his birth name) though. Jeff Rule more than likely just reversed the entire course of the franchise with one tweet.

We appreciate it.

Karl-Anthony Towns said he is “lucky to be alive” after being involved in a scary car accident that has kept him out for the past two games.

THANK GOD KAT IS OK.

Towns will return tonight and look to continue his dominance of the Kings.

Status Report (via Twolves PR)

Robert Covington: Has missed the past 22 contests with a bone bruise on his right knee suffered Dec. 31 at New Orleans and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Gorgui Dieng: Had missed the past two games due to personal reasons. He is expected to be available for tonight’s contest.

Tyus Jones: Returned Friday at New York, having been sidelined for 13 contests due to a sprained left ankle suffered Jan. 15 at Philadelphia.

Jeff Teague: Is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest due to left knee soreness.

Karl-Anthony Towns: Has missed the past two contests after entering the NBA’s concussion protocol program. He has since passed all required testing and is expected to be available for tonight’s game.

Andrew Wiggins: Returned Friday at New York, having missed two games due to illness.

2018-19 vs. Sacramento (1-2)

Friday, Nov. 9 at Sacramento L 110-121
Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Sacramento L 130-141*
Monday, Dec. 17 at Minnesota W 132-105
Monday, Feb. 25 at Minnesota ???

*The 3rd-highest-scoring game in Wolves history.

Entering 2018-19, Minnesota had won 8 of the previous 11 games.

Probable Starters

Wolves

Jeff Teague/Tyus Jones/Derrick Rose*
Josh Okogie
Andrew Wiggins
Dario Saric
Karl-Anthony Towns

*JFT is questionable after landing on his left wrist in Milwaukee — his knees have been hurting him this season as well — and it’s hard to say if Saunders would prefer Jones over Rose to start, but that seems like the more likely move with D-Rose as the sixth man.

KANGZ

De’Aaron Fox
Buddy Hield
Bogdan Bogdanovic
Harrison Barnes
Willie Cauley-Stein

Sacramento Injuries: Caleb Swanigan (G League Assignment) - OUT (lord, what a game changer this one is!)

Prediction: Wolves 121, Kings 117

Why? It’s basic math, really.

See you all in the comments! I’ll mostly be on Twitter @thedailywolf if you have any questions, comments, concerns, cool gifs/memes or just have the itch to talk some shit.

I am here for all of you.

Please win.