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Wolves vs Magic: Contrasting Styles

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Minnesota puts their vaunted new offense up against Orlando’s stout defense

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves vs Magic

7:00pm CST

FS North

Styles make fights, or so they say, and tonight will feature two teams who contrast about as heavily as any two teams in the league.

The Wolves are about as close to all offense, no defense as it gets. They really can shoot and score beautifully, even without Karl-Anthony Towns. The issue, however, is that they struggle mightily to defend, with a few traffic cones on the perimeter and only James Johnson offering any semblance of rim protection.

On the other hand, Orlando is a unit who is capable of playing some really, really strong defense, but struggles mightily on the offensive end.

However, I did just remember that Terrence Ross is still a member of the Orlando Magic, so scrap that part about struggling to score. This is a certified juggernaut anytime Ross sees the Timberwolves. He’s one of those guys, along the same lines as Dillon Brooks, who just absolutely torches the Wolves. He’s a microwave, and if Minnesota doesn’t cover him, it could get ugly.

It’s also pretty hard to talk about Orlando and ignore the Markelle Fultz narrative. It’s so good to see him playing again. Does he look quite like the guy who was supposed to be the best player in the 2018 draft class? No, but he’s in a much better place than he was at this time last year. Fultz, on the year, is averaging 12/3/5 on 46.5% from the field. The shooting overall could still use a lot of improvement, but it’s just fun to see him playing again.

More than anything, at this point in the season I just want the games to be fun. There isn’t a whole lot else to play for, but if the games are fun that’s usually a good thing for the outcome considering the style Minnesota wants to play.

In that sense, a lot of the game tonight comes down to who controls the pace. If the game is a fun, fast-paced, up-and-down affair, that bodes extremely well for the Wolves. If it’s more of a slowed-down, grind-it-out game, that plays into the hands of Orlando.

If there’s one sort of fun comparison I’d like to make, I could kind of see Jordan McLaughlin establishing himself as a D.J. Augustin-type player moving forward. Augustin isn’t a HOFer by any means, but he’s carved out a really nice career for himself as an undersized backup point guard who can really shoot, and is adequate enough at everything else to stick in the league for a long time. That would be a really nice outcome for our beloved J-Mac.

The Wolves are two-point home underdogs tonight, but with a little bit more of their recent hot shooting, they should be able to come away with a win tonight.

Projected Lineups

Magic

Markelle Fultz

Wesley Iwundu

James Ennis

Aaron Gordon

Nikola Vucevic

Wolves

D’Angelo Russell

Malik Beasley

Josh Okogie

Juancho Hernangomez

Naz Reid

Our friends at Orlando Pinstriped Post have the Magic story.