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Game Preview #73: Wolves at Mavs

The NBA’s hottest team heads south for a battle with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (42-30) at Dallas Mavericks (43-28)
When: 7:30pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves +3 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)


What To Watch For

This.

After the Boston Celtics thumped the Denver Nuggets last night, the Timberwolves officially (at least for one night) moved into the top six in the Western Conference standings, which means they would avoid the play-in tournament altogether (if the season ended today of course, which it does not).

We’ve talked about this for weeks, if not months, but we’ve finally hit THE stretch of the season where every single game is basically a playoff game. With 10 regular season games remaining, the Wolves find themselves tied with Denver (Minnesota owns the tiebreaker) and just 1.5 games behind Dallas, who they play twice this week. In other words, the Timberwolves essentially control their own destiny when it comes to postseason seeding, and if they want to stay out of the play-in tournament, they will need to continue riding this hot stretch of play for a couple more weeks.

I tweeted this out a few weeks ago, but at first glance this specific 10-game stretch looked like a murder’s row. Fast forward to today, and the Wolves have gone 4-0 throughout this stretch, with six very difficult games remaining (the Wolves then close the season with three straight home games against the Wizards, Spurs, and Bulls).

If (and it’s a massive “if”) Minnesota can conclude this specific brutal stretch of games with at least a 4-2 record (or better), it would all but guarantee that they are still in the top six in the Western Conference come April 1. Again, there’s a LOT of really important basketball to be played over the next couple of weeks, but the Wolves (who are 10-1 in their last 11 games) are hitting their stride at the right time, and it’s been an absolute thrill to watch night in and night out.

As for the Dallas Mavericks — they’ve stumbled ever so slightly as of late, going 3-3 over their last 6 games. Jason Kidd’s team has looked a lot more dangerous since essentially swapping Kristaps Porziņģis for Spencer Dinwiddie, which has provided the Mavs with an additional ball-handler to pair next to Luka Doncic.

Like I mentioned earlier, tonight’s game should have all the intensity and pressure of a playoff game, so grab a glass of wine, cook up your favorite snacks in the air fryer, and buckle up for some high-level basketball.

Injury Reports

The latest injury report from the Timberwolves is a little cleaner than we’ve become used to over the last few weeks. Naz Reid is PROBABLE tonight with back spasms, and Karl-Anthony Towns is QUESTIONABLE with the right forearm contusion, although I fully expect him to suit up later tonight. The good news is that Anthony Edwards is not even listed on the injury report, so he should be good to go in terms of facing off against Luka Doncic.

As for the home team tonight — it appears as if the Mavericks have a relatively clean injury report as well. Theo Pinson (finger) has been ruled OUT for tonight’s game, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. is out for the season after undergoing surgery last month to address a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Outside of those two players, Dallas should be at full-strength tonight.

Prediction time — it’s no longer considered being a “homer” to (responsibly) bet on the Minnesota Timberwolves. There’s no doubt that this Mavericks team is really tough, especially at home (23-12 this season), but give me the Timberwolves and the points tonight. Minnesota 128, Dallas 119.


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