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Game Preview #72: Bucks at Wolves

Minnesota welcomes the defending NBA champions to Target Center.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Milwaukee Bucks (44-26) at Minnesota Timberwolves (41-30)
When: 4:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Bucks -3 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

What To Watch For

After a few days off, THE Minnesota Timberwolves are back in action today as they welcome to town the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.

While the postseason doesn’t officially start for another few weeks, Minnesota is basically in “playoff mode” over these final 11 games of the regular season as they attempt to chase down both Denver and Dallas in the Western Conference standings. As of Saturday morning, the Wolves find themselves 1 game back of the Nuggets and 2.5 games back of the Mavericks, but will play these two teams a combined three times over the final stretch of the season. If Minnesota wants to avoid the dreaded play-in tournament, they will need to continue racking up the victories, which they’ve done pretty well lately as winners of 9 of their last 10.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about today’s opponent. The Bucks have played the classic role of defending champions all season, having swings of good play followed by some prolonged stretches of “championship hangover” play. Similar to Minnesota, Milwaukee has found their stride as of late, winning 8 of their last 10, which has them sitting second in the Eastern Conference standings (2.5 games back of the Miami Heat).

What I’m basically trying to say is this — today’s game (reminder that it’s an EARLY tip later today) pits two of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, and with both franchises fighting to catch other teams ahead of them in their respective standings, we should get a nice glimpse of playoff style basketball later today at Target Center.

UPDATED Injury Reports

Alright lets try this again…

Jaden McDaniels is obviously OUT with that nasty high ankle sprain, Jordan McLaughlin, Naz Reid, and Jarred Vanderbilt all are QUESTIONABLE with a variety of injuries, and Anthony Edwards is PROBABLE with that left patella tendinopathy.

The one key player to point out here is Karl-Anthony Towns, who was a late addition to the injury report due to a foreman contusion. You never like to see a guy get added to the injury report this close to tip, but here’s hoping that KAT will indeed be able to suit up and give it a go.

As for the Milwaukee Bucks… I had originally written that the defending champions were coming into the day at relatively full strength, and then it was announced just two hours before the start of the game that Giannis would miss the game due to knee soreness. That’s obviously a critical blow to the Bucks and adds yet another name to the list of Star players who have missed games against Minnesota this season.

Prediction time — I originally drafted this game preview from a Starbucks in the Las Vegas airport, and was ready to ride the fumes of a successful weekend by taking Minnesota +3. The news about Giannis likely has affected this line in the Wolves favor, so if you WERE able to get the Wolves and the points prior to these injury updates, you should feel even better about the Wolves chances later today (that’s of course if KAT is able to suit up).

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.