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Wolves vs Nuggets: New Faces

Wolves play the Nuggets with an updated roster

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves (15-27) host Denver Nuggets (29-13)
7:00 CST
Fox Sports North

While the Wolves roster is slowly rounding into form (or at least different than it was two weeks ago), the Wolves are in dire need of a win after dropping five games straight. Karl-Anthony Towns finally made his return to the court after over a month away due to a knee injury, but he looked a bit rusty in his debut appearance.

Tonight, the Wolves will need everything they can get as they are matched up against one of the top tier teams in the Western Conference. Of course, the Nuggets are without three of their starters tonight as Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and Paul Millsap all will not play.

This opens the door for the Wolves to sneak in a victory. Allen Crabbe is on track to make his first appearance tonight after he was unable to play on Friday due to, wait for it, an undisclosed illness.

With Crabbe, the Wolves will be able to add at least another shooter to the floor. He may be having a career-worst year from beyond the arc, but he certainly is theoretically a better option than watching Andrew Wiggins and Towns sling it to Josh Okogie and Treveon Graham in the corner.

Without Millsap, the Nuggets do not have a ready way to punish the Wolves small-ball lineups. In previous matchups, the Nuggets quickly realized that they could simply give Millsap the ball in the post against the Wolves “power forwards” and get out of the way. While Millsap is out, the Wolves will have to contend with a new wrinkle on the Nuggets, as Michael Porter Jr. has been sucking up the available minutes. MPJ has gone above 10 points in each of the last four games, but it is fair to expect Robert Covington to attach himself to MPJ considering the dearth of other scoring threats on the Nuggets tonight.

The Wolves complete lack of a backcourt will also not hurt as much with Murray and Harris out. Of course, the real matchup is the always-fun (and never amiable) battle between Towns and Nikola Jokic. If Towns is able to frustrate Jokic, which he has certainly in the past, the Nuggets really do not have anywhere else to turn.

With all the Nuggets’ injuries, they are basically left with just a bunch of random wings, which is just like the Timberwolves roster (although our deficits are not necessarily due to injuries)! If the Wolves are going to stop the bleeding, this seems a good opportunity as any.

Projected Starting Lineups

Minnesota Timberwolves

Shabazz Napier
Jarrett Culver
Andrew Wiggins
Robert Covington
Karl-Anthony Towns

Denver Nuggets

Monte Morris
Torrey Craig
Will Barton
Jerami Grant
Nikola Jokic

Our blogging friends are over at the Denver Stiffs. Have fun everyone.