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Game Preview #14: Wolves vs Kings

Minnesota hosts Sacramento in a pivotal spot for both teams

Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Sacramento Kings (6-8) at Minnesota Timberwolves (4-9)

When: 7:00pm CST

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

Line: Wolves -2.5

What To Watch For

It feels all too familiar to write this, but the Wolves find themselves in a pivotal spot early in the season. At 4-9, there’s still time to get this ship going in the right direction, but they have to do so quickly. It’s time to win.

While it was disappointing to lose yet another close game on Monday night, this is really Minnesota’s chance at getting back into the thick of the playoff discussion. Starting tonight, the Wolves begin a string of four straight games that are all games they could/should be favored in.

Step one, of course, is taking care of business against Sacramento. While the Kings come in at a respectable 6-8, the groans and whispers about Luke Walton are starting to get louder, and the franchise’s two young stars recently had to fight off rumors that they don’t enjoy playing with each other.

So, yeah, things are about par for the course here. Neither franchise can feel great about where they’re at right now.

With that being said, the Wolves are presented a great opportunity tonight. While the Kings defense is improved from last year, it’s still not very good (21st in DRTG), which should leave room for Minnesota to find their groove on that end of the floor. Rookie Davion Mitchell is a pest on that end, but there are other holes for Minnesota to attack.

On that note, I’d like to see Minnesota try to get De’Aaron Fox involved in as much action as possible. He’s athletic and capable of being a good defender when engaged, but the qualifier here comes into play too often.

Like Minnesota, Sacramento is also not a very good rebounding team, which could allow for someone like Jarred Vanderbilt to make a bigger impact than normal. If Vanderbilt can win Minnesota a few extra possessions, that would go a long way in what could be a close game.

Beyond the X’s and O’s, though, this is a game where Minnesota has to come out of the gate flying around and playing hard. While all 1/82 count the same, this has the feel of a game Minnesota absolutely MUST win if they want to be taken seriously at all.

It’s time for the stars to play like stars, and for the Timberwolves to get back on track. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just win, baby.

Injury Reports

It remains to be seen if, or how much, Naz Reid will be able to play tonight, but it would be great to have him for even just one of the games of this back-to-back. As for Sacramento, all regulars are in, it appears.

I hate making predictions on Wolves games, but I guess give me the Wolves to win but the Kings to cover. I expect tonight to be a weird, dumb basketball game that ultimately I shake my head at several times, but walk away glad that the Wolves won.