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.
Who should win Defensive Player of the Year?— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) March 24, 2022
There’s no clear front-runner, but @SethPartnow reveals his short list of candidates.
"Considering how much he unlocks and excels in Boston’s scheme, my pick as of today would be Marcus Smart."
More: https://t.co/XWHotwQdHv pic.twitter.com/gjB5wTJ3Io
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.
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tomorrow’s game at Boston:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) March 26, 2022
McLaughlin - Left Quad Contusion
Beasley - Left Ankle Sprain
McDaniels - Left Ankle Sprain
Wright IV - G League, Two-Way
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.
Chris Finch said Malik Beasley (left ankle sprain), who is out tonight, is "looking a little bit better than we thought." More of a day-to-day, game-to-game issue with Beasley.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) March 27, 2022
Jaden McDaniels (high left ankle sprain) is on the trip, and I asked Finch if he might play on this trip.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) March 27, 2022
Finch: "That’s super optimistic for him to play maybe on this trip."
Said McDaniels made the trip so he can start doing on-court work.
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.
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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