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Game Preview #46: Nets at Wolves

After a chaotic night earlier this week in Atlanta, the Wolves return home to try and get back to .500.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Brooklyn Nets (29-16) at Minnesota Timberwolves (22-23)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves -3.5

What To Watch For

After a few days off the grid, the Minnesota Timberwolves are officially back in action later tonight as they host the top team in the Eastern Conference — the Brooklyn Nets. When we last saw our beloved Wolves, they were involved in all sorts of chaos down in Atlanta, including the first ejection of Anthony Edwards’ young career and one of the most absurd flagrant foul calls you’ll ever see on Karl-Anthony Towns.

With a few days off to regroup and recharge, Minnesota will return home for a night before setting off on another three-game Western Conference road trip that includes the following matchups:

  • @ Portland on Tuesday
  • @ Golden State on Thursday
  • @ Phoenix on Friday

For those of you scoring at home, that means the Timberwolves will essentially play the three best teams (currently) in the NBA in the span of less than a week, with another tough matchup against the recently-feisty Blazers mixed in as well. If you thought the December schedule was tough, the end of the January schedule would like you to hold it’s beer.

I say all of that to simply say this: tonight is low-key a must-win game for Minnesota. As has been the case a few other times this season, the Wolves are catching a team that is currently dealing with a major injury (more on that in a second), and when you factor in the extended break since their last game + playing at home, there aren’t too many reasons why Minnesota shouldn’t be looking to capitalize tonight at Target Center.

(It should be noted that after this next week or so, the schedule opens up SIGNIFICANTLY starting in February, with a stretch of games that include two contests against the Detroit Pistons, two contests against the Sacramento Kings, and a game against the Indiana Pacers all before Valentine’s Day). Regardless, tonight is still a big game for the young Wolves.

Injury Reports

Despite what the injury report says, it sounds like Patrick Beverley is OUT tonight, so I’d expect an increase in minutes for D’Angelo Russell, who I’m sure will have extra motivation playing against the team that he helped lead to the playoffs a few years back.

As for the Nets...

The headliner here is obviously Kevin Durant, who is expected to miss anywhere from 4-8 weeks with a left knee injury he sustained last week. The Nets will also be without Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) and Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness). Paul Millsap (personal reasons) will also be unavailable, but that might be because he’s potentially looking at condominiums near Mayo Clinic Square:

Prediction time — I’ve tried my best so far this season to not place extra emphasis on one single game, but when you look at the next week or so of the Timberwolves’ schedule, you quickly realize how important it is to get back to .500 tonight. Even with Beverley out, I don’t see any reason that Minnesota can’t take care of business at home. Wolves 118, Nets 111.