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Game Preview #48: Wolves vs. Mavericks

Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves on Wednesday night will host a depleted Mavs squad set to play without Luka Dončić, Kyrie Irving and Dereck Lively II.

Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night return to Target Center, where they will kick off a three-game homestand against the Dallas Mavericks, who will be without three of their most important players in Luka Dončić (who before his injury was one of the greatest scoring runs in modern NBA history), Kyrie Irving, and Dereck Lively II.


Game Info

  • Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (33-14) vs Dallas Mavericks (26-21)
  • When: Wednesday, January 31 at 7:00 PM CT
  • Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, MN
  • TV: Bally Sports North (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen and Lea B. Olsen)
  • Radio: Wolves Radio App, KFAN FM 100.3
  • Line: Wolves -13.5, Total: 224.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

Injury Report

Updated as of Wednesday 1/30 at 5:55 PM CT:

Minnesota

AVAILABLE

  • Mike Conley (left hamstring soreness)

OUT

  • Jaylen Clark (right achilles tendon rupture rehab)
  • Leonard Miller (G League assignment)
  • Josh Minott (G League assignment)

Mavericks

DOUBTFUL:

  • Dante Exum (right knee bursitis)
  • Derrick Jones Jr. (left wrist sprain)

OUT

  • Luka Dončić (right ankle sprain)
  • Kyrie Irving (right thumb sprain)
  • Dereck Lively II (broken nose)

A Note To Our Friends In Phoenix

On behalf of our staff at Canis Hoopus, I’d like to take a moment to offer our deepest condolences to our friends at Bright Side of the Sun — our SB Nation brother site covering the Phoenix Suns — for the loss of Dave King, their longtime managing editor. He passed away on Saturday at 56 years old after a battle with brain cancer.

Current managing editor John Voita penned a beautiful, heartbreaking piece announcing the news that went live on Tuesday morning. John touched on the work that Dave did at Bright Side of the Sun (which included more than 2,800 articles and 13 years as managing editor), but more importantly, what Dave did with his platform. In 2017, he created Bright Side Night, which helped more than 23,000 underprivileged children in the greater Phoenix area attend Suns games they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

Fans who wish to support this great cause can donate tickets to Bright Side Night’s 2025 event here. If you wish to send condolences to all of our friends who live in their comments, you can do so here.

Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Mat Ishbia released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, which came in the wake of an outpouring of support for Dave — among fans, media members and those in the Suns organization — and his work through the years in the greater Suns community.


What To Watch For

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Just Win the Game and Avoid Injury

As I said off the top, Dončic, Irving and Lively II all will not play on Wednesday, while Dante Exum and Derrick Jones Jr. are doubtful.

Even thought Wolves fans unquestionably wanted to see two of the game’s most exciting stars in Dončić and Irving take the floor, it is understandable why Luka may not be out there.

My friend Ben Ritholz of Knicks Film School (who, along with Jeremy Cohen and everyone else at KFS, does great work covering the Knicks and the NBA at-large) pointed out on Twitter today that what Luka is doing is pretty much unprecedented work, all just to keep the middling Mavs afloat.

Without the aforementioned five players, these are the following Mavericks that will presumably be available, listed in descending order of minutes played for the team this season:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. (1327 minutes)
  • Grant Williams (1143)
  • Josh Green (910)
  • Jaden Hardy (662)
  • Dwight Powell (625)
  • Seth Curry (440)
  • Maxi Kleber (225)
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper (219)
  • Richaun Holmes (202)
  • A.J. Lawson (198) — two-way player
  • Markieff Morris (150)
  • Greg Brown III (40) — two-way player
  • Brandon Williams (35) — two-way player

THJ, Williams, Green, Hardy, Powell, Curry and Kleber are all rotation-caliber players in the league at this stage, but without a clear-cut star, point guard, or true center taking the floor for Dallas, this game shouldn’t even be remotely close.

Even presuming Mike Conley (left hamstring soreness) takes another night off to continue rehabbing, the Timberwolves — if they take the game seriously, which in recent outings hasn’t been the given it was in the first couple months of the season — should have no problem getting this game to 20 or 25 points by the end of the third quarter so we can see extended looks at players not currently in the rotation in the fourth quarter.

If that is the case, it would be nice to get some extra run for Troy Brown Jr. as he continues to inch his way back towards a rotation spot on the wing. Given that Shake Milton and Kyle Anderson figure to be at the forefront of the team’s trade talks leading up to next Thursday’s 2 PM CT NBA Trade Deadline, getting Brown Jr. back in a rhythm offensively could serve the team well if they have a shorter rotation for a deadline day contest against the Milwaukee Bucks while they wait for reinforcements to arrive ahead of the following Monday’s game in L.A. against the Clippers.

But with all of that said, this is simply a contest where you’re grateful if the Timberwolves come away with a win and a clean injury report for Friday’s game.