What To Watch For
Tonight’s matchup between the Timberwolves and Nets marks the final preseason contest for both teams prior to the start of the 2021-22 regular season next week. After tonight, Brooklyn will have a few days off before officially kicking off their season on Tuesday in Milwaukee, while the Wolves will have an extra day off before getting their regular season started at home on Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets.
So what does that mean for tonight’s game? Although D’Angelo Russell and Kyrie Irving will both be out (more on that in a minute), I’d expect both teams to play their starters close to 30 or more minutes as both franchises ramp up their activity level prior to next week.
After knocking off the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Monday, the Wolves flew across the country and have been hanging out on the East Coast for a few days, which allowed them to do a variety of pretty cool things. For starters, Karl-Anthony Towns was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame at his alma mater in New Jersey, which is a pretty incredible honor for someone who has been through so much over the last few years:
On top of that, the Wolves actually practiced yesterday at Kean University, where the basketball court there was recently named in honor of KAT’s mother Jacqueline Towns.
In honor of the late Jackie Towns, we practiced at Kean University today, home to Jacqueline Towns Court pic.twitter.com/q2VPDXM3JD— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 14, 2021
Between the undefeated preseason, Wolves-themed pajamas, and some important team-bonding opportunities this week on the East Coast, it does truly feel like the vibes around this roster are the strongest they’ve been in years. How that translates to the regular season (and specifically wins and losses) remains to be seen, but I think it’s fair to say that the Timberwolves are in a good head space as they enter the 2021-22 season, and I personally cannot wait to start watching them play real, meaningful games.
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tomorrow's game at Brooklyn:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) October 14, 2021
Josh Okogie - Right Ankle Soreness
Jordan McLaughlin - Right Groin Strain
D'Angelo Russell - Return to Competition Reconditioning
In terms of Minnesota’s injury report, Josh Okogie is QUESTIONABLE with right ankle soreness and Jordan McLaughlin is once again OUT with a right groin strain. The “big” news here is that D’Angelo Russell is also OUT due to what will become my new favorite catchphrase this season: “return to competition reconditioning.” Giving Russell the night off is a logical move in the preseason, as it should keep him fresh and ready for the start of the regular season, but please be warned that I plan on using “return to competition reconditioning” in my daily life whenever I don’t want to do something.
As for Brooklyn, their injury report looks relatively clean, with no players currently listed as QUESTIONABLE or OUT (outside of Kyrie Irving of course, who continues to be away from the team as he conducts his own clinical research studies on the COVID-19 vaccine).
While tonight is technically just another preseason game, and both teams will be without their starting PG, it should be a great final tune-up for both squads as they ramp up for the start of the 2021-22 regular season early next week.