- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (3-0) at Los Angeles Lakers (1-3)
- When: 9:10 PM CT
- TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Richard Jefferson and Ros Gold-Onwude)
- Radio: 830 WCCO-AM
- Line: Wolves +5.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
What To Watch For
It will be a light night for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are going to be playing without their All-NBA big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, as well as sure-handed point guard Jordan McLaughlin, veteran leader Taurean Prince, and young new additions Eric Paschall and PJ Dozier, who has yet to play in the preseason as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered in January of this year.
Conversely, the Los Angeles Lakers are playing everyone, and rookie head coach Darvin Ham said pregame he will use the first three quarters to simulate more of a regular season rotation, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.
Return of the King
Tonight marks the first time Minneapolis folk hero Patrick Beverley will suit up against his former team. Beverley was traded as part of the package that President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly sent to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Gobert. Shortly thereafter, the Jazz re-routed the three-time All-Defense Team honoree to Los Angeles for young wings Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.
What more can be said about Beverley? The guy will remain a beloved figure among Wolves faithful for as long as he lives. He breathed a confidence and swagger not only into a team that needed it, but into a sleeping giant fanbase needing a reason to support its favorite squad.
While someone will be cutting onions just before tip, you know Mr. 94 Feet will be all business when the ball goes up.
Return of the Other King
The last time LeBron James went to battle with Minnesota, Beverley and his Wolves team clowned James and the Lakers of the building. Pat Bev, Towns and Anthony Edwards combined to score more points (75) than the entire Los Angeles starting five combined (56), and the Lakers fell to 29-40 on the season.
Things got so bad for Lakers that Pat Bev walked across the floor just to tell their bench exactly how he felt about them.
KAT's reaction to this Russ airball was wild pic.twitter.com/6lcT7G1jOV— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 17, 2022
Yes, it’s preseason, but you have to wonder if James will keep the Wolves’ disrespect in mind as he steps in between the lines at Crypto.com Arena tonight, even without Towns on the floor.
LeBron hasn’t put on much of a show for Wolves fans in recent years, so one would hope that changes with this matchup. If the pettiness doesn’t light a fire inside James, maybe the opportunity to go up against a rising Klutch Sports star in Ant will inspire the 18-time All-Star to bring some highlight reel plays.
Everyone’s favorite Naz — also everyone’s favorite Reid — is in line for another night of big minutes without both Towns and Gobert in the lineup.
The LSU product put on a fantastic display of footwork, finishing, rolling to the cup, and defensive intensity to help Minnesota complete a 19-point comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Reid will have certainly have the stage to prove he deserves a regular spot at the 4 in Chris Finch’s rotation as he goes to war with James and Anthony Davis in the front-court, who have a combined 26 All-Star appearances, 22 All-NBA Team nods, and 10 All-Defense Team selections to go with each of their respective spots on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Even then, that might not be enough to stop Naz Reid.
Naz Reid against the Lakers tonight pic.twitter.com/DGx0OnRChA— Oluwajomiloju (@JomiAdeniran) January 3, 2022
- Rudy Gobert
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Jordan McLaughlin
- Taurean Prince
- PJ Dozier
- Eric Paschall