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Game Preview #68: Timberwolves at Magic

These two juggernauts will faceoff in a late season contest you won’t soon forget.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (20-47) at Orlando Magic (21-46)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

What To Watch For

Would ya look at this heavyweight matchup? Both of these teams find themselves well out of the playoff race but have not played like teams looking ahead to their first offseason round of golf. That’s not what you would expect from two teams with fewer combined wins than seven NBA teams.

While neither team has been great or even good, they have not been embarrassing either. The Magic won just three games in all of April but have gone 2-2 so far in May. Okay, those April wins were against Chicago, New Orleans, and Cleveland. But they did beat the Grizzlies on May 1 one night after losing to Memphis 92-75.

That’s the fun thing about this Magic team right now: you don’t know which team will show up. For example, they played the Pelicans twice in April. The Magic took the first matchup in overtime but lost the rematch three weeks later by 35 points.

Even in those recent games against Memphis, they scored 75 points in one game (prorated to the mid-2000s and this is like 50 points) and 112 in the victory. This variance makes it hard to predict what will happen against the Timberwolves.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have followed their longest winning streak of the season with a three-game skid. Albeit, those losses have been by single digits. Nonetheless, this is one the Timberwolves’ chances to pick up an extra win and not finish the season on an eight-game losing streak. After Orlando, the Timberwolves face Detroit— another winnable game. Following that, however, is Denver, Boston, and Dallas.

A time traveler could tell me the Timberwolves beat both the Magic and Pistons and dropped their last three games or they lost all five and I would not bat an eye either way.

Someone will have to win this game. Probably. The last time the Timberwolves played the Magic was a 97-96 loss at Target Center, but that was before the Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon trades. The Timberwolves will also look to snap a four-game losing streak to the Magic going back to January 2019.

Injury Report

Listing the players available players may be quicker. The Timberwolves will be without Jarrett Culver, Malik Beasley, and Jaden McDaniels (personal reasons). They may also be down Juancho Hernangomez (leg injury). Please report to Amway Center if you have ever played power forward.

Orlando isn’t sitting much prettier. Wendell Carter Jr. is out with an eye abrasion. Michael Carter-Williams, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, and Otto Porter are still out. There are a few other players sitting this one out too.

With all these players injured or otherwise not playing, this game promises all the beauty of a demolition derby or a rock fight. Of course, if you’re tuning into this game at this stage in the season, you probably weren’t expecting beautiful basketball anyway.