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Game Preview #5: Nuggets at Wolves

Minnesota looks to build on an impressive win over the champs against the MVP and his Nuggets

NBA: Preseason-Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: Denver Nuggets (3-2) at Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1)

When: 8:00pm CST

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

Line: Timberwolves -2


What to Watch For

Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic are nowhere near friends. Never have been. The pair has faced of numerous times in their career, 18 to be exact, and Jokic’s squad has gotten the better of Towns’ team two-thirds of times.

The biggest matchup was the infamous game 82 in the 2017-18, when the Timberwolves beat the Nuggets in overtime to get the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Since, Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic have matched up 6 times, each time resulting in a loss for KAT. Still, Towns have routinely outplayed Jokic over that span. Towns has averaged 26.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per contest compared to Jokic’s 17.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 7.2 assists.

Tonight may be Towns’ best chance to get the best of Jokic in the win/loss column as Jokic will be without his sidekick Jamal Murray, the team is coming to town on the back end of a back to back, and the Nuggets haven’t exactly played inspiring basketball yet this season. I’ll be interested to see how Towns does keeping his emotions in check against Jokic, who always seems to get under his skin.

Outside of the Towns vs. Jokic matchup, the Timberwolves will look to keep their impressive defense alive. They currently have a defensive rating of 99.0 in the first four games. Offensively, they will be looking to keep the positive momentum going after an impressive win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Another point of interest will be if Jared Vanderbilt continues to be the 5th starter for this team after taking the job from Josh Okogie on Wednesday. Our very own Mike O’Hagan thinks he should.

Injury Reports

Minnesota has no injuries on the injury report once again, which continues to be a welcomed sight after the slough of injuries they went through last season.

McKinley Wright was assigned to play for the Iowa Wolves - who played last night - so he will be inactive.

Denver will of course be without Jamal Murray tonight, as they will be for most of the season. Nikola Jokic was listed as probable with his knee contusion. Would be a huge surprise if he doesn’t end up playing.