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Wolves vs Heat: Playing it Out

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Two disappointing teams face off at Target Center

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves (35-43) vs Heat (38-40)

7:00pm CST

FS North

We’ve got a battle between two teams who have most certainly not lived up to expectations this season.

The Wolves surely figured they’d be in the thick of the playoff race after last year’s finish, assuming better health than what they had last year. The Heat, full of good not great players, were counting on Erik Spoelstra to elevate this year’s squad into the playoffs as well.

While technically the Heat could still make it, it seems extremely unlikely. While these teams aren’t really playing for much, there’s still much to watch for before the Final Four kicks off tomorrow.

For the Wolves, it’ll be all about continuing to build value back up for the bad contracts they’ll be looking to move this offseason.

Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng have come on as of late, and while it likely won’t matter much, any flashes of good play from those two is worth something to the Wolves. They’ll undoubtedly be looking to unload each player’s contract this offseason. Sometimes (bad) front offices can be fooled by a short spurt of solid play. Hopefully Minnesota’s players can work their way into being viewed as “worth a shot” for some inept organization who strikes out in free agency.

In Miami’s case, they’ll be looking to do much of the same, although most people already know what Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk are. In many ways, it may make sense for these teams to be trade partners in the offseason to exchange bad contracts.

On the more positive side for Miami, they’ll want to see just how much they can get out of one-time Jimmy Butler trade cornerstone(s) Josh Richardson as well as Bam Adebayo. There appears to be a lot of untapped potential in Adebayo. If any coach can tap into it, Spoelstra is a good bet. He’s about as good as they come in this business.

It’ll be interesting to see how the intensity is during this game, and how that impacts the outcome. Miami is generally one of the scrappier teams in the league. Outside of Josh Okogie, the Timberwolves don’t really have that reputation. That kind of effort from Miami could give them a considerable advantage against a Minnesota team that is prone to coming out flat more often than not.

I may be a broken record at this point, but Karl-Anthony Towns is awesome. I mean, come on.

Those are just stupid numbers. That TS% makes absolutely no sense. That’s Zion playing against losers in college stupid. He’s so versatile and dominant. Go get that bag, KAT.

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’re currently at 9-11 on the year with just a few opportunities left to get back above water. Can we do it? Who knows. Only time will tell. This is one way to get interested in these last remaining games, though.

The pick: Wolves +4 (-110)

It’s always hard to predict how teams will play at the end of the year like this, but given that Miami’s season effectively ended against the Celtics, it feels like there could be an emotional let down tonight for them. Also, 4 points feels like way too big of a spread for a home team in a game like this. Are the Heat really that much better than the Wolves? I don’t think so. I expect the Wolves to cover, and likely win this game if you’re interested in the moneyline (+150).

Projected Lineups

Wolves

Tyus Jones

Josh Okogie

Andrew Wiggins

Dario Saric

Karl-Anthony Towns

Heat

Goran Dragic

Dion Waiters

Derrick Jones Jr. (look out below)

Kelly Olynyk

Bam Adebayo