finish the homestand strong. eyes on 4 straight.— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 19, 2021
Wolves vs. Mavericks
7pm CT, @TargetCenterMN
Preview » https://t.co/9VTJiAI3AD pic.twitter.com/PdAmYLiGFj
What To Watch For
Fresh off the heels of a dominant dismantling of the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN this past Friday, the Minnesota Timberwolves will look to continue to build on this latest bout of momentum tonight as they host the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks.
The Wolves enter Sunday’s home contest at Target Center sporting a three-game winning streak, including impressive beatdowns of both the Denver Nuggets and Lakers. The roller coaster theme of this season appears to be real, as the Wolves have now posted multiple losing streaks of five or more games and immediately followed that up with multiple winning streaks of three or more games. That trend has extended league wide, where roughly half the league is within a few games of .500, but the Wolves have quickly become experts at responding to really bad weeks with really good weeks (something that I haven’t really experienced before covering the Wolves).
I pity those of you who refuse to buy into this 2021-22 Timberwolves team.— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) December 18, 2021
Most exciting, mentally tough, and well-coached team Minnesota has had in over a decade.
While tonight’s contest should be another fun and exciting experience at Target Center, it has been zapped of some of its star talent with both Anthony Edwards (Health & Safety Protocols) and Luka Doncic (sprained left ankle) expected to miss the game. Nevertheless, both squads enter the night at (or near) .500, and have shown an ability (albeit a small sample size) to play good basketball despite being short-handed.
One interesting note about Mavs/Wolves — these two teams will actually play again on Tuesday in Dallas, where Luka Doncic has a better chance at playing in that one (he currently is not with the team on their road trip).
UPDATED Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tonight’s game vs Dallas:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 19, 2021
Edwards - Health & Safety Protocols
Knight - G League Two-Way
Okogie - Health & Safety Protocols
Prince - Health & Safety Protocols
Wright IV - G League Two-Way
The big news here is that Josh Okogie joins Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince on the Health & Safety Protocol list, which means he will also be OUT tonight against Dallas. Nathan Knight was also added to the injury report; however, his placement on the list is because he was recently transferred back down to the G-League.
As for the Mavericks, they too have had multiple players added to the COVID protocols:
Reggie Bullock (health & safety protocols), Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons), Luka Dončić (left ankle soreness), Josh Green (illness), Frank Ntilikina (illness) and Eugene Omoruyi (right foot injury) will all miss tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota.— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) December 18, 2021
The only real positive for Dallas is that they haven’t played since Wednesday (an overtime loss to the Lakers), so the players that are available should be well rested for tonight’s game. As mentioned earlier, these two teams not only face off tonight but will square off again on Tuesday down in Dallas. Considering how jumbled the Western Conference is, taking advantage of a short-handed (i.e. no Luka) Mavs team would be huge for Minnesota in terms of not only the current standings, but also any potential tie breakers down the road (the Wolves and Mavs will play two more times towards the end of the regular season).
Prediction time — give me Minnesota -3.5. Despite being without Anthony Edwards for the second straight game, I like both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell to have big games as they push their winning streak to four games before heading back out on the road later this week.