Basketball. NBA. Regular season
Washington Wizards vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Capital One Arena (Washington)
Minnesota has lost their last five faceoffs to Washington, and a win now is especially important for the Wolves as they risk falling out of the playoff zone. Will the Timberwolves be able to break their losing streak?Claim Your Welcome Bonus!
From the looks of things, the Wizards will fight to the very end for a playoff spot this season. The Capitals are 8th in their conference with 10 wins in 20 games so far. That said, the last three-game stretch was disappointing: Washington lost two games in a row to Miami and Boston. The nice thing is that Kristaps Porzingis has started to play and Bradley Beal is slowly coming back to life. Beal has shot less from the field than he has in recent seasons, but his 52.3% mark has clearly benefited the Wizards. In addition to Beal and Porzingis, there is another player on the team who is averaging 20+ points but he might not make the floor against Minnesota: he missed the recent game against the Celtics. Delon Wright will definitely not help Washington, while the participation of Rui Hachimura and Johnny Davis is questionable.
Less than 24 hours ago, Wes Unseld Jr.'s team lost on the road to Boston, 121-130. Despite the absence of Kuzma, Washington had no problems on offense. The Wizards shot over 50 percent from the field and Bradley Beal scored 30 points. Monte Morris was the team's backup on long-range attempts and Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert had a few snaps. The rest of the team shot a combined 14 three-pointers - all of them turnovers.
The Timberwolves have had an uneven start to the season so far: The team can win 5 straight games before snapping a 3-game losing streak. Right now the Wolves are on a black streak, which has dropped them to 10th place in the Western Conference. On paper Minnesota is a near favorite in the West, but there are problems with the compatibility of the players on the floor. The good news is that Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are increasingly taking the lead and adding in efficiency. Both are averaging 20+ points, but they're still a long way from their superstar stats.
The Wolves also have a bit of a personnel problem. Jordan McLaughlin and Taurean Prince are still in the sack, while Jaden McDaniels was recently sidelined due to illness. McDaniels may be able to recover in 24 hours, which would be crucial for Minnesota. The small forward position has begun to sag, with Edwards now playing the three, and Austin Rivers coming in as the starting five.
First and foremost, McDaniels is a key defensive player for Minnesota and in his absence the team allowed over 130 points in their last game against Golden State. The game had already started to look like a blowout after the first quarter and only in the final 12 minutes did the Wolves manage to bring back the intrigue for a short while. The final score was 114-137, a loss for the Timberwolves. Austin Rivers dropped the game, D'Angelo Russell was having trouble and Anthony Edwards had trouble playing his best basketball for a long time. Edwards transformed in the second half to become Minnesota's high-scoring scorer with 26 points.
Expert Betting Tips
Much for Minnesota will depend on whether or not McDaniels can play, as he is the mainstay of their defense. The visitors are among the NBA leaders in steals for a reason, and their defense looks solid when optimally balanced. Washington's defense wasn't too bad against Boston, but their opponent made some very difficult shots. On offense Washington was lucky at times as well, but now it is logical to expect a decrease in performance. If Kuzma is absent, the home team's offense will be less varied, which will make things easier for the Wolves. Our prediction for the Washington-Minnesota game is as follows:
- TU (224.5) for 2.25;
- W2 (incl. OT) for 1.94;
- H2 (-5.5) for 2.55.
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