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Game Preview #11: Wolves at Lakers

Minnesota’s four-game road trip wraps up this weekend with a back-to-back at Staples Center.

Sam Mitchell is defended by Jay Vincent Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (3-7) at Los Angeles Lakers (7-5)
When: 9:30pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Lakers -2.0

What To Watch For

Our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves are back in action yet again tonight, this time on the road against the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers (more on that in a second). As you know by now, it’s been an extremely disappointing last week or so of Wolves basketball, highlighted by an embarrassing late game collapse to the Memphis Grizzlies, followed by a humiliating loss to the Golden State Warriors that featured multiple poster dunks from former Minnesota citizen Andrew Wiggins.

The Wolves enter Staples Center tonight sporting a fairly impressive six-game losing streak, and are set to face off against both the Lakers and Clippers before finally returning home for a four-game home stand against the Suns, Kings, Spurs, and Grizzlies. Both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference are fairly chaotic as we approach the second full month of the season, so there isn’t really any time for Minnesota to regroup and collect their breath.

At 3-7, the Wolves have once again stumbled out of the gates when they should have really galloped (especially with a schedule front-loaded with home games), so the pressure is clearly beginning to mount for this team to pick themselves up off the canvas and string together a good game or two to help right the ship.

While everyone associated with the Timberwolves right now — players, coaches, and even the front office — deserves their fair share of the blame for this less than ideal start to the 2021-22 season, it hasn’t ALL been deflating, at least for me. Yes, Minnesota has already dug themselves a deep enough hole that it may never truly be able to get out of, and yes even an optimistic person like myself has seen my blue and green flame dwindle as of late, but I personally was really impressed by Anthony Edwards’ performance on Wednesday against the Warriors.

As many of you know, ANT dropped a career-high 48 points against one of the best defenses in the league, but it was the way he did it (i.e. attacking the basket) and the overall “give a shit” factor that he displayed as he tried to single-handedly end the Wolves losing streak that really gave me hope. Our good friend Jon Krawczynski wrote about ANT’s career night and the story re-confirmed (at least to me personally) that while chaos and dysfunction continue to overwhelm this franchise, Anthony Edwards continues to provide something that not many other players before him have provided for Timberwolves fans: real hope.

Injury Reports

The injury report for Minnesota is all clear tonight (outside of McKinley Wright IV who continues to get reps down in the G-League with the Iowa Wolves).

As for the Lakers...

Outside of LeBron James, there aren’t many surprises here. The Lakers have been fairly shorthanded for most of the season, which has forced Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis to take on an even larger role. Carmelo Anthony, who signed with the Lakers this past offseason after playing two years in Portland, has had an extremely hot hand as of late, shooting a blistering 50% from three.

Call it a hunch, blame it on an early Friday happy hour, or maybe it’s a combination of both — either way, I like the Wolves +2 tonight. In my mind, this is Minnesota’s best chance at ending their losing streak, as things won’t get any easier tomorrow night against a streaking Clippers team who has tonight off.

Have a great weekend everyone. Go Wolves.