Wolves (30-35) vs Wizards (27-38)
The Wolves are back at home today, facing off with Bradley Beal and the Wizards for the second time in the past week.
In a position without a ton to play for in terms of playoff seeding and/or lottery positioning, this game is mostly about pride for each of these teams. In their last meaning, Minnesota forgot what defense was and gave up a disgusting 135 points.
It’s safe to say that if the Wolves repeat that defensive performance, they’re going to lose tonight. Sadly, I’m not confident that they won’t.
The Wolves defense has just been so bad recently. Sure, missing Robert Covington and (gulp) Luol Deng hurts. It still doesn’t excuse giving up 135 points to a team like the Wizards.
I know there’s a large portion of the fanbase that wants to retain Ryan Saunders, but I just don’t think he has shown enough to deserve the full-time gig. These last 15ish games are most important for him. I get that the Wolves players have a lot of bad habits from the Thibs era, but the first sign of good coaching is what shots your team takes and what shots your team gives up.
If the Wolves were to give up so many points while limiting shots at the rim and in the corners, I’d be able to live with that. However, this team gives up a ghastly amount of shots in the most efficient spots on the floor. That’s on the coaching staff.
So, in a game where the best and/or worst part is we will again be envisioning what KAT could do with a co-star like Bradley Beal, I’m going to be watching the defense. For the end of this season to be a success, they need to make strides on that end of the floor. KAT is going to keep you afloat offensively regardless of who you put around him.
Beyond the defense, I look forward to watching Karl-Anthony Towns continue his tear. He’s been as good as anyone in the NBA since the All-Star break, and there’s no reason to expect that to stop. He is a delight to watch every night.
Beyond that, it’s hard to get excited about a game like this. You want to see Andrew Wiggins get it going, but will it mean anything if he does? The other players who will inevitably contribute tonight likely won’t be around next year.
I suppose it would be beneficial for the Wolves to find a way to utilize Dario Saric better. He’s been a bit disappointing of late, but I think the Wolves could find a better way to use him. I do look forward to watching him cut off of KAT post ups. He is phenomenal at that.
Lastly, it’s important to note that Robert Covington doesn’t seem close to a return, and at this point he should just be shut down for the season. The Wolves can’t really tank for anything, but there’s no sense in putting a player battling through an injury back out on the floor for these somewhat meaningless games. Let RoCo get fully healthy.
Bet of the night
I’m in no way saying that you SHOULD make these bets. I’m not betting them. It’s just a fun extra thing that I’ll be tracking for the remainder of the season. All lines via Bovada.
We improved to 6-8 after Karl-Anthony Towns went over his point total against the Thunder. There isn’t a player in the league who can stop him right now. Tonight, we look to add another one in the win column.
The pick: Wolves First Half -4 (-115)
There aren’t any player props available which is disappointing because the KAT point total is like printing money. Either way, this is a completely different team at home. I fully expect the Wolves to start out strong tonight and have a solid lead at halftime. The -7 line for the full game is appetizing because the Wizards stink, but I can’t imagine the Wolves actually blowing out a team they’re better than.
Our friends over at Bullets Forever have the Wizards perspective.