Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (18-20) at Houston Rockets (11-29)
When: 6:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves -5 (OPEN), currently Wolves -7
What To Watch For
In some ways, Jalen Green’s rookie season is off to a similar trajectory as Anthony Edwards’ was. Stamped as an inefficient, volume shooter early on in his career, before inevitably improving and adjusting to the league, learning how to score. Don’t get me wrong, Edwards is quite a bit better, but don’t overlook what Green has been doing recently heading into what could be a promising second half of the year:
Jalen Green last 10 games:
62.6% True Shooting Percentage
46% FG, 41.4% 3P% (13.8 FG Attempts)
For context, here are Anthony Edwards stats in the same 10-game stretch of his rookie season (games 16-26):
53.6% True Shooting Percentage
42.4% FG, 39.7% 3P% (14.4 FG Attempts)
Edwards started out struggling a little bit more as well in his rookie year, but further leaps in the second half of the season have springboarded him to right now, an outside contender to make the Western Conference All-Star team.
It’s a lot of fun as a fan of basketball to watch young scorers figure out the NBA game.
When the Wolves faced off against the Rockets at Target Center in the season opener, they saw the inefficient, yet-to-figure it out Green, whose most memorable moment was crossing up Taurean Prince, and overshadowed by a fellow top-two pick a year removed.
Back to back rim attacks from Jalen Green. The first of many. That behind the back to reject the screen was fithly pic.twitter.com/wufOYul9SH— Draft Dummies (@DraftDummies) October 21, 2021
Tonight will more likely be a better one. All of that to say, the matchup with Anthony Edwards will be a fun one to watch. Two young, dynamic scorers who were drafted high a year apart from each other.
Oh, and Anthony Edwards is white hot. He’s been averaging 23 points with a true shooting percentage of 60 over his last 10, particularly lighting it up from three.
Wolves PR says Anthony Edwards joins Stephen Curry as the only players who have hit 5+ threes in a quarter multiple times this season.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) January 8, 2022
The Rockets have dropped nine of their last 10. The expectation is that the Wolves should be able to take care of business riding a win streak. If nothing else however, Ant and Green should see plenty of each other on Sunday. That dynamic will be fun to watch and one to keep an eye on.
Bolmaro remains out in health and safety protocols. Patrick Beverley remained questionable with a groin injury, but looks like he will miss a second-straight game and look to be healthy against New Orleans on Tuesday.
Chris Finch says Patrick Beverely is "looking likely to be out" tonight against Houston— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) January 9, 2022
Picking the Game
As usual, below is a player prop I like for each stat category this evening. All lines according to the Action Network.
Points: D’Angelo Russell OVER 18.5 Points (-130)
The Rockets don’t have a particularly good backcourt when it comes to defense. Ant and D-Lo are both coming off spectacular games. There’s a good chance that a solid chunk of points comes from at least one of the two tonight, and D-Lo’s line is a little bit smaller. I like him to be able to string together back to back good games tonight.
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns UNDER 9.5 Rebounds (-110)
KAT no doubt will be playing plenty on the perimeter tonight going against Christian Wood. The backcourt and Jarred Vanderbilt will need to be relied on for boards, having to deal with JaeSean Tate. Towns seems to either be boom or bust over this number, and for the odds, and matchups, I like the under.
Assists: Anthony Edwards OVER 3.5 Assists (+110)
Edwards has eclipsed this number in three of the last four games. Unless it’s JaeSean Tate, the Rockets don’t really have anyone who can guard him 1 on 1, and help would be expected. If the Wolves can spring a couple open shooters early, I like this to hit.
The Pick: Timberwolves -7
On a night of rest against an inferior team, this is a number that should be able to fall with Beverley-less squad. If the Wolves play with the reckless abandonment against an inferior team that has been an unfortunate trend at times, this could head to a backdoor cover.