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Game Preview 69: Wolves at Heat

Minnesota takes their talents to South Beach to conclude the Florida doubleheader

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (38-30) at Miami Heat (45023)

When: 7:00 pm CST

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

Line: Wolves +3 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

What to Watch For

Man, is this team even any good?

I kid, I kid. I thought the #takes after last night were a little funny, but I am interested to see how the Wolves respond tonight. They got punched in the mouth for the first time in a couple weeks last night, and now we see how well they move on from that.

Normally, the headline would be Wolves vs Jimmy Butler, but Butler is OUT tonight with a toe injury, but there should still be some good juice for this matchup after their November meeting got a bit chippy.

Even without a few key players, I expect this to be a really fun game.

There are fun matchups across the board, but the big one is going to be how well Karl-Anthony Towns fares against Bam Adebayo. Bam is a legitimate DPOY candidate (+380 on DraftKings), and is one of the few players in the league equipped to actually give KAT fits one on one. KAT has a little bit of size of Adebayo, but he is strong, long, and mobile enough to mostly hang with Towns. For the Wolves to compete, Towns will have to win his matchup.

With Butler out, the Wolves really need Anthony Edwards to have a star performance. He looked more like himself last night, finally seeing a few jumpers go in, but they’ll need even more from him tonight. Miami is a very smart defensive team with or without Butler, so Ant will need to be smart with his attack. He and KAT finding a way to get Adebayo in foul trouble would go a long ways this evening.

Ultimately, for the Wolves to salvage a split in Florida, they need their stars to play like stars. That’s what they’re paid to do, especially so when guys like Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt are not playing. Ant began to look more like himself last night, and they’ll really need the best version of him tonight.

With Butler out, Miami’s offense will become even more dependent on three-point shooting, and it will be on Minnesota to get out to shooters and force the likes of Duncan Robinson and Max Strus put the ball on the floor.

Injury Report

As mentioned before, Butler is out for Miami, as well as Caleb Martin and Victory Oladipo. For the Wolves, it’s never fun to be without two starters and key pieces like Beverley and Vando, but it’s up to the rest of the team to up their defensive intensity to make up for those losses. The Wolves need to be able to lock in and play hard defensively even without their leader on that end. It starts with KAT, and if comes ready to play defense, I believe the rest of the guys will follow suit.

The Pick

Coming off of a rough loss, it’s hard to know for sure how Minnesota will respond. My guess is they come ready to play, as they usually get up for these types of games. I am a homer and a bad gambler, but I’m taking the Wolves +3 anyways. I like the resiliency of the Wolves, and think they bounce back. Follow along during the game at DraftKings.

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