Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Minnesota Timberwolves fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Coming off a 109-80 Game 1 blowout loss at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, the Minnesota Timberwolves needed a day off to recharge, adjust to the altitude, flush a poor performance from their minds and get ready to get after it in Game 2.
Wolves fans needed that, too.
So, after a day to let Game 1 marinate on fans’ minds, we asked fans three questions that we now have the answers to. Let’s get into them.
1) What Do the Wolves Need Most in Game 2?
- KAT to dominate
- More efficiency from Anthony Edwards
- A healthier Rudy Gobert
- More scoring from Mike Conley
Unsurprisingly, Timberwolves faithful believe the team most needs Karl-Anthony Towns to dominate in Game 2. Towns had 11 points on 15 shots — a rare, extremely inefficient night— grabbed 10 rebounds, and his four turnovers overshadowed his pair of assists. He struggled to score when he drew smaller defenders, such as Jeff Green, Aaron Gordon, Christian Braun or Bruce Brown, and his 1/7 3-point shooting didn’t stretch the defense like it needed to. Entering Game 1, Towns held averages of 24.1 points on 54.0/40.5/85.0 shooting splits, 11.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.4 stocks against the Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets since he entered the league, and Minnesota will need him to their three-time All-Star to play to that level tonight.
Despite a near outright majority wanting a more dominant version of Towns, fans clearly want to see more from Edwards, too. The first-time All-Star out-did KAT’s 5/15 shooting by one make en route to his 18 points, secured only two rebounds, and wasn’t much of a factor in the half-court offensively. The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported on Wednesday that Edwards is not 100%, but despite that, Edwards needs to find a way to impact the game more efficiently on offense. His 3-point shot may be understandably less consistent with an injured left shoulder, but his ability to collapse the defense on the drive and either find his teammates on the perimeter or score at the rim should be better than what it was on Sunday — and Edwards would be the first to admit that.
2) What is Your Confidence Level in Chris Finch on a 1-10 Scale?
It’s safe to say that Timberwolves fans are all over the map when it comes to their confidence in Minnesota Head Coach Chris Finch. 34% of fans ranked their confidence in him below a five, while 66% of respondents gave a five or higher. Twice as many fans (14%) assessed their confidence level at a one or two than those who gave a nine or 10 (7%).
Tonight will be a big test for Finch. If his squad is able to even things up at one game apiece, the results of this survey would look wildly different than if the Wolves lose again tonight, or do so in another blowout fashion. Finch certainly hasn’t been dealt the hand with Towns missing more than half the season with injuries and losing key rotation members Taurean Prince and Jordan McLaughlin for extended stretches. But his team looked unprepared to play and very disorganized on Sunday, despite having veterans in Conley, Anderson, Towns, Gobert and Prince playing the bulk of the minutes. That’s not a great sign considering the stakes.
With that said, today is a new day and a great opportunity for Finch and his players to prove that Sunday was much closer to the exception rather than the rule.
3) Will the Timberwolves Steal Game 2 on the Road?
A 29-point loss surely doesn’t inspire confidence in a team that hasn’t found its groove for an extended stretch, and Timberwolves fans responded accordingly. Just 26% of fans believe their team will win Game 2, tie the series and regain home-court advantage with the series shifting back to Minneapolis for the weekend. Funny enough, the Wolves are +8 (+290) for tonight’s game, which carries an implied win probability of.... 25.6%. So, fans and Vegas are in alignment here ahead of what will hopefully be a much more competitive contest than Game 1.
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