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Game Preview #57: Heat at Wolves

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KAT returns to the line-up to face his ultimate nemesis, Bam Adebayo.

Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

After getting demolished in back-to-back matinee games by a total of 55 points to teams resting a total of 3 all-stars MVP candidates, the 4-game home is coming to an end. Let’s take a look under our collective boots to see if the Wolves are still alive.


Game Info

Who: Miami Heat (23-34) at Minnesota Timberwolves (15-43)
When: 9:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North PLUS
Radio: 102.9 HD3 (https://audacy.com/wcco2/listen)


What To Watch For

  • The other common dominator in these past 2 losses, other than what I listed above, was the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns. KAT has understandably been spending time with his family this week as it was the anniversary of his mother’s tragic passing. His return to the hardwood will be a welcome and necessary sight if Minnesota wants to put up any type of fight against the Miami Heat and some guy called James Butler III or something. Heard he’s a nice guy.
  • Speaking of nice guys, the Miami Heat’s best player is none other than Bam Adebayo. According to KAT’s good friend (They don’t seem to display the same bff-isms that they did a year ago) D’Angelo Russell, Bam is the best young guy that he’d build a team around. Bam’s been having yet another career year, posting averages of 19.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.2 BPG, and has absolutely added a deadly jumper to his arsenal. I’m excited to see KAT vs. Bam tonight.
  • Miami, just like Minnesota, has gotten crushed in their previous two games by a total of 37 points. They were also battling championship contenders in the Suns and Nuggets, but were on the road and not missing nearly as many of their best player(s). This is just the first of two season contests between the Heat and Wolves, but who could forget the last time they played? Will they get more heroics tonight, or will Minnesota continue to coast their way to the draft lotto?
  • I hardly had the stomach to watch Minnesota’s last two games for a variety of reasons, both good and bad. However from what I’ve briefly seen and the narratives I’ve heard, it seems that team morale is NOT good. That’s what a 14-42 record and/or being crushed by 25+ in two consecutive games can do to a young team. Despite the difficult assignment KAT has on the court tonight, I’ll be curious to see how he handles his assignment off the court as a leader trying to galvanize his team.
  • Miami’s ORtg is weirdly close to the Wolves (25th vs 26th), but defense will be the big difference. The Bam & Butler duo have led their team to a 110.1 DRtg which is 6th in the NBA. The Wolves are puttering in at 27th. I’ll be watching how Coach Spoelstra surgically negates KAT’s offense from the game.
  • Most importantly, the Heat and Timberwolves will be hosting an auction for Daunte Wright’s family. They will be selling the social justice warm-up shirts they’ve been wearing all week and all proceeds will go to the Wright family. This is a good effort which will hopefully help their family, but this will not bring Daunte back nor does it feel like it will make the slightest dent in the changes that desperately need to happen in this country. Please continue to reflect on what’s going on in our society and do not relent in pushing for change.

Injury Report


Predictions

  • KAT will do his darnest to will the Wolves to victory, but his wild swinging limbs will put himself in foul jail early as he’s unable to keep Bam off the boards. His inability to properly set screens or box out will be on full display tonight against Miami’s premier center. Towns will finish with a 18 point, 8 rebound, and 5 foul night, opening the post-game presser with, “I have to do better and not let the refs get in my head. Credit to Bam though, as I leader I have to do better and lead by example.
  • D’Lo will volume shoot his way to the tune of 28 points on 28 FGA. Despite any gripes I may have about that, there doesn’t seem to be many better options on offense when KAT is on the bench and Beasley out. The battle of D’Lo stans and haters officially enters night #375, officially hitting the 1 year mark of this brutal civil war.
  • With KAT back, Ant will regain his efficiency from the field. He’ll finally detonate a long awaited dunk on the head of Trevor Ariza (Yeah, he’s on the Heat now). After launching 11 three pointers in each of the past 2 games, he’ll finally calm it back down to single digit attempts, finishing with 25 points on on 16 FGA.
  • So you know how the Wolves give up a league-worst .392 3P% to their opponents? The Heat have just a few good perimeter shooters in Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn. All 3 players will have simultaneous MPEs, resulting in a staggering 20 treys made.
  • Heat throttle the Timberwolves, 120-99. Uncle Rico has a drunkeningly good time in the comments section.