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Game Preview #81: Spurs at Wolves

Minnesota will look to rebound after an embarrassing loss to the Washington Wizards.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: San Antonio Spurs (34-45) at Minnesota Timberwolves (45-35)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves -8.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

What To Watch For

After a fairly embarrassing and disappointing loss on Tuesday at the hands of the Washington Wizards, the Minnesota Timberwolves will look to right the ship later tonight at home against the San Antonio Spurs. The Wolves loss on Tuesday all but guaranteed that they will be forced to participate in the play-in tournament next week, but there is still a small (like, REALLY small) chance that they could catch the Denver Nuggets for sixth before the week is over.

Essentially, Minnesota will need to win tonight and on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls, and Denver would need to lose tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies and on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s not inconceivable, but with the Lakers likely shutting down LeBron James and Russell Westbrook (and maybe Anthony Davis as well), it seems very unlikely that the Nuggets won’t win at least one of their remaining two games (both of which are at home).

Back to the Timberwolves — Tuesday’s loss against the Wizards was pretty deflating for a multitude of reasons, but for me personally nothing was more frustrating than watching a team destined for the postseason play such uninspired defense and bring little to no energy to their home court. Both of those things will need to change ASAP if this team is going to successfully navigate the play-in tournament, which is now officially scheduled to start next Tuesday at Target Center against the Los Angeles Clippers (unless of course the scenario mentioned above with the Nuggets actually comes to fruition).

Simply put, tonight should be a good opportunity for Chris Finch and the Timberwolves to rebound against a team that is still playing for something (the Spurs and Pelicans are currently fighting for home court in the 9 vs. 10 matchup of the play-in tournament).

Injury Reports

At the time of writing this (approximately 12:30pm CST), it appears as if both Patrick Beverley and Jaden McDaniels are QUESTIONABLE for tonight’s game, while Malik Beasley should once again be ready to go. Chris Finch said at shootaround that Jaden came out totally fine after returning to action on Tuesday, so I’d be shocked if he doesn’t suit up against the Spurs. We should have far more clarity on these guys as we get closer to pregame media availability.

On the other end of the court, the biggest storyline is Dejounte Murray, who is OUT for tonight’s game due to a non-COVID related illness. Outside of that, Lonnie Walker IV (back) is QUESTIONABLE and Devin Vassell (Achilles) is PROBABLE.

Prediction time — taking into account Tuesday’s embarrassing home loss and pairing it with the fact that the Wolves may indeed see the Spurs again in a week or so, I’d imagine Minnesota comes out re-focused and energized tonight as they try to cling to the outside chance of avoiding the play-in tournament. If Beverley and McDaniels do indeed play, that would give the Wolves a full rotation of guys and should allow them to iron out some of their issues prior to postseason play. Lay the points, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy some entertaining hoops.

Wolves 128, Spurs 116.

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