What To Watch For
728 days ago, the Timberwolves started out the 2019-20 season 3-0 with a win over the Miami Heat at Target Center. Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves with 25, and Treveon Graham ran up and down the floor as a starter (0 points, -10 in 20 minutes).
Now two years and an entirely new roster later, the 2021-22 Wolves will look to follow suit. A couple differences between this team and that one? Try three players averaging at least 17 points per game, the current league-leader in team defensive efficiency, a top-five mark in PACE among the league’s 30 teams, and well, Anthony Edwards.
The stat to keep an eye on? Try not to be surprised here. Obviously, this takes into account the sample size of last game as well.
The Timberwolves are dead last (30th for those keeping track) in the league in the defensive rebound percentage, with the Pelicans being top-five in offensive rebound percentage. This does not tell all, but can be an important thing to keep in mind. The Pelicans lack talent, but there is obvious concern if teams are able to trap the Timberwolves into playing a slower-paced and more halfcourt-oriented game.
No team is playing in the halfcourt less than the Wolves. But they do rank 25th in halfcourt O.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) October 24, 2021
"I think we’re last in the league in halfcourt sets and scoring efficiency... But it’s OK when you make up for halfcourt sets and you just don’t play in the half court much." -- KAT
D’Angelo Russell led the team down the stretch on Saturday after a shaky performance for most of the game. As we all know, he’s not a bashful offensive player, and leads the team in usage so far this season. I would not be surprised for him to come out and attempt to assert himself early after ending hot on Saturday.
D’Angelo Russell postgame comments. “I just forgot how to play basketball, honestly.” Says tonight was good adversity for the Wolves to face. pic.twitter.com/m1rTAfUOuB— John Meyer (@meyerNBA) October 24, 2021
Points: Malik Beasley OVER 10.5 points (-115)
Beasley has been quiet on the stat sheet, but a key piece to each of the Wolves’ first two wins. I think tonight is the night he sees a couple of quick threes off the bench and rolls a little bit early on.
Rebounds: Nickeil Alexander-Walker OVER 5.5 rebounds (+100, EVEN)
As previously talked about above, the Wolves have a rebounding problem to fix, and Alexander-Walker is a bigger guard who can rise up for rebounds over a physically overmatched D’Angelo Russell in this situation to start the Pelicans’ break.
Assists: Anthony Edwards OVER 4.5 assists (+120)
I love the odds, paired with the player. Edwards has been getting plenty of defensive attention, and there’s no doubt he will find himself getting collapsed on en route to the rim. Two or three kickouts and this prop looks good early.
Timberwolves Points O/U: 114.5
My Pick: OVER. It was an up-and-down offensive outing on Saturday. I would bank on a cleaner one tonight. In fact, it would be a little discouraging to not see 110 points against a bad New Orleans team. If the game starts out fast, or a couple shots can go down early, points can start to confidently stack as we saw last Wednesday against Houston.
3-0 in the air for the first time since 2019. Good vibes are among us. If you need me, I will be howling at the moon all night.