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Game Preview: Wolves at Heat

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Minnesota heads to South Beach for a date with Jimmy Butler

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves at Heat

7:00pm CST

Bally Sports North

Whereas in the past this might have been a late-season game where one team was tanking and one was coasting into the postseason, extenuating circumstances have made this duel between Anthony Edwards and Jimmy Butler worth a legitimate watch.

As we know, the Wolves are trying to win, for a few reasons. For one, they need to show improvement and development from this core that Gersson Rosas has put together, and to his credit they have. Aside from that, the more games Minnesota wins, the less likely it becomes that Minnesota hands Golden State the fourth overall pick, which, to me, is the one outcome that would really sting above all others. The draft is obviously a crapshoot, but the way this draft is shaping up, that top-4 looks to be the cream-of-the-crop.

In Miami’s case, they’re fighting just to stay out of the play-in tournament. It is incredible that it’s fairly likely for both NBA Finalists from last year to be in the play-in. As of today, Miami is in 7th place by virtue of Boston holding the tiebreaker over them. They have a lot to play for.

Aside from that, there’s always the lingering Jimmy Butler storylines when these teams play. The Wolves have strangely had Miami’s number recently, and for that to continue a few things need to happen.

For one, they need Anthony Edwards to continue looking like he has a semi-legitimate claim to being the Rookie of the Year. I suspect LaMelo Ball will still win the award, but what Ant has shown over the past 30 games or so has been incredible. Edwards looks the part of a volume scorer who’s learning when and where to get his shots to be efficient, which he has been for the most part lately. You have to be pretty damn good as a rookie to lead a team with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell on it in field goal attempts, and for nobody to bat an eye. Another explosive game from Ant would go a long ways.

The other thing I’m most fascinated to see is how Chris Finch will scheme his offense against a team that’s unlikely to guard KAT. I’d be willing to bet Miami is comfortable with Bam Adebayo guarding KAT on his own, and they should be. Bam is phenomenal. I want to see how Finch will counter that, and what sets he can draw up to get Towns some free looks against one of the leagues best defenders.

Projected Lineups

Wolves

Ricky Rubio

Anthony Edwards

Josh Okogie

Jaden McDaniels

Karl-Anthony Towns

Heat

Goran Dragic

Jimmy Butler

Duncan Robinson

Trevor Ariza

Bam Adebayo