A narrative about the Minnesota Timberwolves that has been circling the deteriorating Twittersphere is that they have yet to play a fully healthy team to “measure themselves” this season. The Wolves have had quite a bit of “luck,” whether it was Orlando missing Banchero, Cleveland resting Mitchell, Memphis without Bane, Phoenix minus Paul - the list really does goes on. Tonight, the Wolves can add the Philadelphia 76ers to those teams, as they are without James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and likely Tobias Harris tonight. Such is life in the NBA, though. It’s also not like Minnesota has been rattling off victories against these depleted teams either.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s tilt.
- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (7-8) at Philadelphia 76ers (8-7)
- When: 6:30 PM CST
- Local TV: Bally Sports North (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen, Katie Storm)
- National TV: NBA TV
- Line: Wolves -3.5 | Total: 218.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Tyrese Maxey is out tonight with left foot pain, per the NBA injury report. Harden, Korkmaz and Springer are also out and Harris is listed as questionable.— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) November 19, 2022
No injuries on the report for the Timberwolves.
What To Watch
- How will Philadelphia recover from this embarrassing national scandal, now known as Laddergate? I’m expecting many eyes to be glued to the pre and post game shootaround. Will there be any shenanigans from the Philly crew? Has Montrezl Harrell, who is averaging a whopping 4.0 minutes per game in the last three games, regained his form after a rigorous post game shooting session last night?
- Though the 76ers are missing three of their four best players, they will still likely roll Joel Embiid out there. Embiid, (former) nemesis of the Towns family, is averaging 32.3 points per game (2nd in the league) with a ridiculous 37.7 usage percentage (1st). Consider that both Maxey and Harden each sport over 26.3 usage percentages, you can imagine what the Wolves are going to see tonight. Just for reference, Minnesota’s leader in usage percentage is Jaylen Nowell at 25.8 (Edwards just trails with 25.7). Just how many free throws do you think Embiid will be gifted tonight? 300 Hoopus Pointz to whoever is closest!
- The Sixers already play at the fourth slowest pace in the NBA and you can imagine how much slower things will get as they force feed Embiid in the halfcourt. Compare that to the Wolves, who are the fifth fastest paced team, and we will have a battle of styles. After a grueling victory against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks less than 24 hours ago, the home team is on the tail end of a home-home back-to-back, so will Philly have the legs to slow Minnesota down?
- I feel that the amount of discourse around the two-time NBA MVP runner-up is warranted. Of course, Embiid will get his, but the Wolves are uniquely equipped to handle the star center with the likes of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. The key may really come down to whether or not the Northern Heights can stay out of foul trouble. If so, the 76ers will be praying for a Danuel House, De’Anthony Melton, or Shake Milton Medium Player Explosion (MPE).
- The unexpected star will be D’Angelo Russell. The last time the Wolves were in Philadelphia, D’Lo torched them for 35 points and a number of clutch shots to steal a victory on Joel Embiid’s return from injury. “It ain’t sweet,” he said. I’m looking forward to a Sweet 16 assist double double from Good D’Lo.
“They had guys that sat out & they thought it was sweet to come back & play against us.— Devin Jones (@DevinJonesMN) November 28, 2021
It ain’t sweet.
So, we tryna put the league on notice one game at a time, one win at a time… Never too high. Never too low. Simple as that.”
- D’Angelo Russell
- Although their feud is supposedly squashed, I’m still expecting KAT to go at Embiid on the offensive end. Give me a 30-point triple double from the best (active) big in the game!
- Trailing 100-101, Embiid shoots one last free throw to try and send the game to overtime. Out of nowhere, Gerald Green jumps out from the stands and over Franklin the Dog’s prop ladder to blow Embiid’s attempt short by just a few centimeters.
- Wolves win, 101-100.