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Game Preview 76: Wolves at Celtics

Minnesota faces off with Boston to close out the weekend.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (43-32) at Boston Celtics (46-28)
When: 5:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves +6 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

What To Watch For

After one of their more well-rounded performances of the season, Minnesota heads to Boston to face off against one of the few teams in the NBA playing better basketball than them currently. The Celtics have been on fire, and are playing a hounding defense that Minnesota will have to work hard to score against today.

The mid-season resurgence by Boston has been due to a variety of factors, but one of the main ones is Marcus Smart taking over the main ball-handling opportunities. It has put Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown into more comfortable positions, and has led to much better distribution of the basketball in general. Smart is one of my favorite players in the league, and I think this has been his best season yet. He may wind up winning Defensive Player of the Year, as well.

That Boston defense is no joke. The Wolves will have to value the basketball today, or the Celtics will live in transition. There are no real weaknesses to exploit in isolation, so they will have to trust the principles that Chris Finch and his scheme have installed to get them good shots.

If there is a minor weakness to Boston, it’s that they’re not incredibly deep, which is a good thing for Minnesota considering they will be without both Malik Beasley and Jaden McDaniels due to left ankle injuries, and several other players are banged up.

Ultimately, how crisp Minnesota is with the basketball will determine how competitive they are today.

Injury Report

We already knew Beasley and McDaniels would be out, but the biggest developments thus far seem to be that good news seems to be on the horizon.

I understand that they are not truly locked into the 7th seed, but with it looking like the most likely outcome, it is important that Beasley and McDaniels are receiving good news. They are absolutely vital to this team postseason success, and getting them back on the floor for or before the play-in is imperative.

Gambling Pick

Tonight’s play: Under 229.5 total points (line courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook).

Sunday afternoon games are always a little weird, and I think this will be a bit of a rock fight. The Wolves tend to dig in on defense more when it is required of them, and I think it is going to be required of them today. I don’t have a real strong opinion on the point spread, but I think this will be a lower scoring game than this total suggests.


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