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Game Preview #36: Wolves at Lakers

Timberwolves look to get back in the win column against the Lakers

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (16-19) at Los Angeles Lakers (18-19)

When: 8:30pm CST

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

Line: Lakers -8

What To Watch For

To kick off the New Year, the Wolves take on the Lakers in their newly named Arena.

Similar to Friday night in Utah, the Wolves will still be without Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, but otherwise figure to have a mostly healthy roster. That should be enough to remain competitive with a Lakers team missing Anthony Davis.

The big thing for Minnesota tonight is to try to somehow keep LeBron James in check. He’s been playing out of his mind of late, and will likely be the Western Conference Player of the Month for December. He averaged 30.7/9.3/6.5 on .555/.404/.786 shooting. That’s just absurd.

If you’re able to slow James down, you’re in business. The rest of the Lakers have struggled this year, which is why they’re below .500 this year even with James’ dominance. Much of the Lakers good moments come from their overwhelming size and athleticism, so containing the likes of LeBron and Russell Westbrook is paramount.

Aside from that, I’ll just be looking for the Wolves to fight and remain competitive. It’s hard to expect a win without both Towns and Russell, but we should still see them play hard and make the most of their opportunities. There are plenty of those for guys who are stepping into bigger roles during the absences of Towns and Russell.

Injury Reports

Same as last game, no Towns or Russell for the Wolves, but everyone else seems available. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than what we were dealing with for a while. We’ll take it for now, at least. Hopefully Towns and Russell are feeling alright and will be able to join the team again soon.

The Lakers are without a boatload of players as they have been for much of the year, most notably Anthony Davis. The Lakers have countered his absence by playing LeBron at center more often, which has predictably worked wonderfully because playing LeBron at any position usually works great. It’ll be interesting to see how the Timberwolves counter that look. Could we see some minutes with Vando at the 5?