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Wolves vs. Cavs: Banged Up in January

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The Wolves head to Cleveland for a rematch against a lousy Cavs team

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Minnesota Timberwolves David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves vs. Cavs
6:30pm CT
FSN

When the Wolves went on an 11-game losing streak followed by a bevy of injuries and illnesses to nearly the entire starting lineup, things were looking particularly bleak in Minnesota. They still are, to some extent, but not nearly as much as one might have thought.

The absence of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and others has led to more minutes for some intriguing ancillary pieces on the Wolves’ roster like Naz Reid, Kelan Martin and Keita Bates-Diop. Led by none other than Gorgui Dieng, this b-squad has posted a few wins on its own while also taking a healthy Milwaukee Bucks team down to the final seconds.

As for tonight, the Wolves face a Cleveland team they lost to just one week ago. In that one, the Cavs’ young guards in Colin Sexton and Darius Garland got the best of a Minnesota team that put up fewer than 90 points on the night. Beyond Sexton and Garland, the Cavs have little to show as far as offensive threats aside from Kevin Love. Keeping him and Tristan Thompson off the boards is a must if the Wolves want any chance at taking this one.

There are still a lot of question marks for the Wolves leading up to tipoff for tonight. Wiggins, Towns, Jeff Teague, Treveon Graham and Noah Vonleh are all listed as questionable for tonight, so this could be another b-squad affair or the return of Minnesota’s most valuable players. Either way, the energy that this team’s bench has played with in the past couple weeks is the key to the Wolves continuing to win games. If Towns and Wiggins play tonight, it’s paramount that they match the sense of urgency that these other guys have put on display in their absence.

Projected Starters

Wolves

Shabazz Napier
Jarrett Culver
Kelan Martin
Robert Covington
Gorgui Dieng

Cavs

Darius Garland
Collin Sexton
Cedi Osman
Kevin Love
Tristan Thompson

The folks over at Fear the Sword have Cavs coverage for you.