Finally home again.— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 15, 2021
Wolves vs. Suns
7 PM, @TargetCenterMN
Preview » https://t.co/SxtSNMYJck pic.twitter.com/FYwyisGoov
What To Watch For
After returning home from a four-game road trip, the Minnesota Timberwolves will now embark on a four-game homestand that features all Western Conference opponents (Suns, Kings, Spurs, and Grizzlies). As you know by now, the Wolves struggled on the road last week, going 1-3, with the only victory coming against a LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers squad.
At 4-8, the Wolves currently find themselves 12th in the Western Conference standings. That’s the bad news. The good news? They are only one game back of a play-in spot, and 3.5 games out of the 5-seed. In no way whatsoever am I trying to sugarcoat what has been yet another disappointing start to a Timberwolves season, but while the last few weeks have been downright embarrassing, the team does have a golden opportunity this week with four straight home games against teams currently tied or above them in the Western Conference.
Will Minnesota finally capitalize on such an opportunity? That remains to be seen, and very little from this current squad suggests that they have what it takes to string together a legit winning streak. If the Wolves do find a way to go 3-1 (or better) this week, they will likely wake up next Sunday right back in the heart of the playoff hunt. If things continue to go south and this team falters again at home with a 1-3 (or worse) record, there will likely be some extremely uncomfortable (yet extremely valid) conversations next week about the construction of this current roster and whether or not it can survive as is much longer.
No proper game preview on November 15 would be complete without also wishing a happy 26th birthday to one Karl-Anthony Towns:
With Naz Reid questionable for tonight’s matchup against the Suns (more on that in a minute), the birthday boy might be asked to play as many minutes as possible, especially since Nathan Knight was recently sent back down to the G-League. Regardless of all of that on-court stuff, I do sincerely hope Karl has a great birthday and can put on a show tonight for those in attendance at Target Center.
Happy Birthday, Karl!
UPDATED Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tonight’s game vs. Phoenix:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) November 15, 2021
Naz Reid - Right Foot Soreness
Leandro Bolmaro - G League Assignment
Nathan Knight - G League Two-Way
McKinley Wright IV - G League Two-Way
Not a ton of surprises here, although the team did release an updated injury report earlier this morning that now lists Naz Reid as QUESTIONABLE due to right foot soreness. Usually when a player is added to the injury report this close to game-time, he usually does NOT play, which would leave Minnesota extremely thin at center. Both Leandro Bolmaro and Nathan Knight were sent down to the Iowa Wolves earlier in the day, so if Naz truly cannot suit up tonight, I’d expect the birthday boy Karl-Anthony Towns to play as many minutes as possible, with Jaden McDaniels or Jarred Vanderbilt likely to fill in the backup center minutes.
Deandre Ayton has missed the last 5 games for Phoenix, but could return tonight against the Timberwolves.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 15, 2021
Monty Williams said on Sunday that Ayton just needs to get his conditioning up to be able to play.
Javale McGee + Frank Kaminsky have been taking the center minutes lately
As for the Phoenix injury report — at the time of writing this (early Monday afternoon), it wasn’t quite clear as to whether or not Deandre Ayton would finally be returning to the Suns starting lineup. If the former #1 overall pick does sit again tonight against the Wolves, expect a heavy dose of JaVale McGee and Frank Kaminsky at center.
In terms of a prediction for tonight’s matchup — I had the Wolves winning in LA on Friday against the Lakers, and I like their chances again tonight against the Suns. Phoenix is playing the second night of a back-to-back, and despite it only being the middle of November, the Wolves have suddenly found themselves in a bit of a “must win” scenario this week as the schedule relaxes before a heavy dose of road games kick off next week.
As always, thanks for continuing to frequent Canis Hoopus and have a great week. Go Wolves.