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Game Preview #71: Lakers at Wolves

Minnesota looks to maintain their momentum despite a tough injury update on Jaden McDaniels.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Miami Heat Photo by Joseph Guzy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Timberwolves are good now.

The Lakers are not good now.

That felt so good to write.


Game Info

Who: Los Angeles Lakers (29-39; 9th) at Minnesota Timberwolves (40-30; 7th)
When: 7:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


Injury Report


What To Watch

  • With Jaden McDaniels going down with a high ankle sprain with 41.9 seconds left in a 10-point game, there has been some valid discussion about Coach Finch’s decision to keep starters in late in games. That said, it’ll be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out today. There are still a handful of other players who’s status’ are still unconfirmed for tonight’s tilt at the time of my writing this. It’s likely going to be by committee, but who will pick up the lion’s share of the 26.1 minutes (4th on the team) McDaniels usually plays?
  • Will LeBron James play tonight? The Lakers have lost 8 of their 10 games since the All-Star break with their only wins literally dependent on LeBron scoring 50+ points. In their losses, their average point differential is a staggering -14.1. This includes an overtime loss to the league-worst Houston Rockets. The 37-year-old superstar, who was even questionable heading into their Monday night game against the Raptors with a sore knee, played all but 20 seconds of the 4th quarter despite it being a 20-point game (19 with 5:11 remaining). I know I’ll be eagerly watching to see what type of product Los Angeles puts out there if LeBron rests his knee tonight. (UPDATE: LeBron is IN)
  • Speaking of sore knees, it’s been an interesting string of games since Anthony Edwards returned after sitting out 4 games earlier this month. He’s averaging just 15.3 points on 43.1% shooting from the field while seemingly locking in more on defense. Finch mentioned earlier today that Ant could even get some burn at the 4 position which should be interesting. Ant, who’s part of LeBron’s Klutch Sports agency, could be due for a big scoring night.

Predictions

  • If LeBron sits, Russell Westbrook (Don’t say brick, apparently) will force his way to a trouble double on terrible efficiency. That would be a foregone conclusion despite the fact that he’s having the worst season of his career by both Win Shares (1.2) and VORP (-0.1) metrics. Amazing. (UPDATE: LeBron is IN)
  • We get the usual power struggle in my apartment between my partner (Noted Lakers fan) and myself, as dinner plans will once again be determined based on the outcome of this game. I anticipate that I will NOT have to pick up Jersey Mike’s.
  • Ant dedicates his postgame courtside interview to his fellow draft mate, Jaden McDaniels. “JMac this dub for you dawg! You gon be back stronger than ever. McChickens on me tonight!Timberwolves 121, Lakers 112.