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Game Preview #18: Wolves vs. Heat

Minnesota, riding high on a four game win streak, looks to improve to .500 on the season as General Soreness and the Heat come to town

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (7-9) vs. Miami Heat (12-6)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Heat -2

What to Watch For

The Timberwolves are welcoming the Miami Heat to Target Center on the back of their four game win streak. The four wins haven’t come against the cream of the crop, but they have all been very convincing wins. The Timberwolves have outscored their opponents by 92 points during their streak, highlighted by a 43 point victory over Memphis - perhaps the best team of the bunch.

Minnesota now sits 10th in the Western Conference - 2 games ahead of 11th - and finds themselves just two games game behind the Mavericks for the 4th seed. It seems clear that this team is better than the bottom feeders of the Western Conference (Houston, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Sacramento), which would put them firmly in Play-In position at the worst.

Now, the Wolves face one of their toughest tests of the season so far on Wednesday night; the Miami Heat.

That’s right, #OldFriend Jimmy Butler will make an appearance in Minneapolis to face his old team. This game gives the Wolves a chance to prove that they are capable of more than just beating up on the teams that they are supposed to.

The Heat are coming to town directly after a close game - albeit a win - against the Pistons in the Motor City on Tuesday night. This gives an advantage to Minnesota as the Heat will be on the second leg of a back-to-back with their 3 best players (Butler, Adebayo, and Lowry) having played 35, 31, and 35 minutes, respectively. It took a 4th quarter rally for Miami to come back and win against Detroit and were mostly kept in the game by their bench.

There is no doubt that the Timberwolves, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns, have a vendetta against Butler, who infamously blew a gasket as a member of the Timberwolves a few years back.

Towns, clearly, is referring to Jimmy Butler’s totally not pre-planned interview with Rachel Nichols following the Wolves practice incident.

The Wolves have consistently brought energy against the Heat since Butler joined the squad, and Wednesday should be no different. Towns is healthy and ready for another round of revenge. Edwards is due for a big night. Russell is having his most impactful stretch of play since joining the team. The Heat are coming to town less than 24 hours after playing against the Pistons. No one has to work on Thursday. It is all shaping up to being a night where Target Center should be ROCKING.

Injury Reports

As of Tuesday night, the Timberwolves injury report remained clean beside the ongoing back spasms that Josh Okogie has been going through. Okogie has missed the previous four games. He is currently listed as questionable.

It seems that Josh Okogie will likely be a game time decision.

It is refreshing that Minnesota, who dealt with a seemingly endless list of injuries over the past few seasons, has had a mostly clean bill of health so far this season. Let’s pray that continues.

Miami had a few key players questionable to play against the Pistons on Tuesday in Adebayo, Tucker, and Robinson. All three of them ended up playing in that game, which could affect their availability and/or effectiveness at Target Center on Wednesday.

(At the time of writing this, there had been no official update from the Heat about player availability for tonight’s contest).

At the end of the day, this Wolves game should be electric. Target Center will likely be packed and if this team can continue to build onto their winning streak, the belief and optimism will only grow.

I hope everyone enjoys the game and enjoys a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with their loved ones.