- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (16-15) vs Dallas Mavericks (15-16)
- When: 7:00 PM CST
- TV: Bally Sports North Extra (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen and Katie Storm)
- Radio: 830 WCCO-AM
- Line: Wolves +3 | Total: 229.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
What to Watch for
Second Straight Against Mavericks
Wednesday’s contest is the second of three games between Minnesota and Dallas this season, completing the second game against each other in Minneapolis over the course of three days. The third and final battle between the two sides will come on Feb. 13 in Dallas.
When it comes to how the two teams stack up entering Wednesday, the Wolves have the upper hand offensively while ranking eighth in the NBA with 115.5 points per game compared to Dallas tied for 20th in the league with 111.2 points per contest. Minnesota has shot 49% from the field (third-best in the NBA) and is 10th in assists (26), while Dallas ranks tied for 18th in field goal percentage (46.6%) and 28th in assists (21.9). The Mavericks do hold an advantage from three, shooting 36% from deep (14th in NBA) compared to the Wolves ranked tied for 21st (34.4%).
Defensively, Minnesota is again a superior squad compared to Dallas, with the Wolves carrying a defensive rating of 112.3 (13th in NBA) with 8.7 steals per game (tied for second). The Mavericks rank tied for 16th in defensive rating (112.5) and come in at 11th in steals (7.4).
One thing to watch for is the battle on the boards, an area Minnesota narrowly owned in Monday’s contest while out-rebounding Dallas 44-42. A lack of depth in the paint certainly impacted things for the Wolves, but that’s an area Minnesota — averaging 42.6 rebounds per game (22nd in NBA) — should own over Dallas, which averages a league-worst 39 rebounds a contest.
What Happened in the First Game?
In the first matchup between the two teams on Monday, the Wolves took the game 116-106 behind strong performances from Anthony Edwards, Naz Reid and company that resulted in Minnesota’s third straight victory.
With solid contributions offensively from Austin Rivers, Jaylen Nowell and others, the Wolves jumped out in front of the Mavericks early while limiting a talented Dallas offense to 38.2 percent shooting in the opening half and a 40.8 percent mark from the field over four quarters.
In Monday’s game, the Wolves did a nice job in taking Luka Dončić out of the contest — literally — limiting the MVP candidate to just 19 points on 5-of-17 shooting before he was ejected in the third quarter along with Dallas head coach Jason Kidd. Although he left the game early, Minnesota — led by Jaden McDaniels — was able to hold Dončić under 20 points for the first time this season, also holding him to a season-worst shooting performance and plus/minus (minus-14) over his 28-plus minutes of action.
Luka and Jason Kidd were both ejected pic.twitter.com/cAqp60misE— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 20, 2022
After his disappointing game and early exit, Dončić will likely attempt to come into Wednesday’s game on a mission to have a bounce-back game. If the Wolves can replicate even to some extent what they did defensively against the Mavericks star in this rematch, Minnesota should put itself in a good spot to come out on top once again.
How about some love for Jaden McDaniels.— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) December 20, 2022
His defense on Luka Doncic tonight was sensational.
When he was the primary defender, Luka had...
In 4 career matchups, Luka has...
5 TO pic.twitter.com/gU8Eh6geUf
In Ant and Naz We Trust
Two players who have been on a tear for the Wolves as of late to feed into the recent winning streak have been Edwards and Reid. In the first matchup against Dallas a few nights ago, those two stepped up once again with Ant dropping a near triple-double and Reid posting a double-double with both players nearing the 30-point mark.
Edwards has continued to be the best player for Minnesota, especially as Gobert and Towns work back from injuries. Over the course of the three-game win streak, Edwards has averaged 32 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 1.5 steals and one block over 37.8 minutes per game.
Reid, on the other hand, has stepped up big to fill in for Gobert and Towns in the paint, making a case for a continued expanded role in the rotation even when the twin towers of Gobert and Towns ultimately return. Over the last three contests, all of which have resulted in a spot in the starting lineup, Reid has averaged 21.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, two steals and 1.3 assists in 29.5 minutes.
If Gobert, who enters Wednesday as questionable with an ankle sprain, returns to the lineup for the Wolves, Reid’s role could take a bit of a hit while Edwards would likely not be impacted all that much. Regardless, the play of both Ant and Naz has been outstanding as of late and has been a leading factor into the hot streak the last few games.
- Rudy Gobert — Ankle Sprain
- Kyle Anderson — Back Spasms
- Jordan McLaughlin — Calf Sprain
- Taurean Prince — Shoulder Subluxation
- Karl-Anthony Towns — Calf Strain
- Dwight Powell — Thigh Contusion
- Dorian Finney-Smith — Adductor Strain
- Josh Green — Elbow Sprain
- Maxi Kleber — Hamstring Tear
- McKinley Wright IV — G League
- Tyler Dorsey — G League