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Game Preview #8: Wolves vs. Clippers

Minnesota hopes to keep late-game momentum from Wednesday rolling, avoid four-straight (home) losses.

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Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (3-3) vs Los Angeles Clippers (2-4)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

Setting the Stage

It wasn’t all bad on Wednesday night at Target Center. Was the defense lackadaisical at times? Sure. Were there times where the offense just wasn’t working? Absolutely. Shots falling? Sometimes.

But at the end of the day, the Clippers shot 60 percent from three. Does the flamethrower continue this evening at Target Center?


My Two Cents

Chalking Wednesday up to nothing more than a team getting hot during the 82-game NBA season, we still can’t lose sight of the last three games overall with a couple of troubling themes. I can tend to get carried away with enthusiasm as much as any fan. But at what point do we treat a game like tonight, a second straight game at home against a similarly-talented Clippers team, as an audition to us fans?

I don’t need to go into what an audition is. It’s used to certify that someone is good enough to play a part. But why can’t this be used as an opportunity to show us that what we’ve seen on this skid is an exception, and not a rule? The idea that a halftime lead won’t inevitably be squandered, and a game can be closed out?

I won’t be the person to make brash, sweeping declarations seven games into a season, but I think the Wolves can usurp this recent trend with the change of one recent harsh truth:

Karl-Anthony Towns has been underperforming.

14.6 shots per game in the last three, with only one of those being over 40 percent from the field. Counting stats, sure. But has he passed the eye test? I get it. He’s getting unlimited defenders thrown at him. But I would love to see more shots go up above the break, more efficient and quicker use of space on the blocks, and less kickouts to inferior shooters.

What I’m really trying to get to? I want to see the all-star take a game over because I know he is capable of doing so.

We saw it in 2019. I thoroughly believe he is in the tier of NBA Centers with Jokic and Embiid. Both players do enough to win games when their sidekick is out, and make the playoffs. That expectation shouldn’t waver for the Timberwolves. I’m hoping Towns does the same thing more consistently (especially after changing his password).


Hot Props

There was no stat shortage in the last game between these two. Below are a few props in each stat category I like for tonight, courtesy of the Action Network.

I was 1-3 in my last go-around. Not great, but THESE are failsafe.

Points: Karl-Anthony Towns OVER 25.5 points (-105)

The case has been laid out. It would be great to see a 30-point night for Towns in hopefully one of the last outings without D’Angelo Russell. Good value for the odds as well if this is a scenario you like with me. Towns’ shooting “slump” won’t last forever.

Rebounds: Isaiah Hartenstein OVER 4.5 rebounds (+100, even)

Points will be harder to come by for the Clippers tonight than they were last game * knocks on wood *. It would not surprise me to see them go with a bigger rotation and have Hartenstein be more prevalent, and to try and win this game on the glass and through second-chance points.

Assists: Patrick Beverley OVER 4.5 assists (-150)

Bigger odds, but it would be tough to see a scenario in which this does not hit. Beverley has had less than five assists in one game this year, and will log big minutes against the Clips tonight.

Timberwolves Points O/U: 107.5

Pick: UNDER

Towns has a nice night, but both offenses struggle more than Wednesday in an up-and-down, grind-it-out rematch.