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Game Preview #53: Wolves vs Pistons

The Timberwolves square off against the Pistons for the second consecutive game

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info:

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (27-25) vs Detroit Pistons (12-40)

When: 2:30pm CST

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

Line: Wolves -12

The saying goes, “It is hard to beat a team twice in a row”.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be trying to do just that as they face off against the Detroit Pistons this afternoon after playing them on Thursday.

What To Watch For:

Even though the Pistons were the Wolves last opponent, the Wolves were not the Pistons last opponent. Detroit faced off against the Celtics on Friday night. This creates a rest-advantage for Minnesota tonight as they are at home and haven’t played since Thursday.

Although the Wolves got the win in Detroit a few days ago, they didn’t have it in the bag from the get go. They had to fight the entire first half to keep it close before pulling away in the 3rd and 4th. Still, the Pistons were resilient and wouldn’t go away, making the game close down the stretch.

Today’s game should be a different story. The Timberwolves hopefully won’t pick up 3 first half technicals and lose their composure like on Thursday.

Now, the Wolves are sitting 2 games over .500 at 27-25 and find themselves just a game behind the Nuggets for the 6th seed entering today. If you’re into a good day of scoreboard watching, today is a good one.

What I am most interested in looking at in tonight’s game is if the Wolves are able to punish the Pistons on the interior. Detroit is a small team, yet out-rebounded the Wolves 45-42 last game. Minnesota should shore up the rebounding department tonight.

The biggest thing that the Wolves should focus on tonight, along with the rebounding, is their defense as a whole. The defensive rating has been slipping since the turn of the calendar as the offense has had a meteoric rise to top of the league. Tonight should be a time to make some hay on the defensive side as the Pistons are the second worst offensive team in the league and may be playing without rookie guard Cade Cunningham.

Injury Reports:

Cade Cunningham will be a game-time decision for today’s matchup.

Minnesota, who has been without their starting point guard D’Angelo Russell for the last four games do to a shin contusion, will be getting him back tonight. Russell is listed as probable, but Anthony Edwards sure seemed convinced D’Lo would suit up.

During his pre-game media availability, Coach Chris Finch confirmed that Russell will play and will not be under any sort of minute restriction. Finch noted that Russell wasn’t going to come back until he was able to play without a restriction.

Patrick Beverley, who played in the Wolves last game, is also listed as probable. Josh Okogie and Leandro Bolmaro are listed as questionable.

I would love to see Cunningham play tonight, and not just because I’ll have a front row seat today, but rather to see how the Wolves handle playing against a bigger initiator. Also, the Wolves need to keep being tested by healthy teams so we can gauge how good they are or aren’t heading into Thursday’s trade deadline.

I think Minnesota comes out blazing today and waxes the floor with Detroit. Double digit spreads are always risky (today is -12 for Minnesota), but I’m hitting the over on that one. Let’s Go Wolves.