The Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets are expected to finish in very different positions in the NBA standings this year, as the Nets are a title contender while the Timberwolves aren’t expected to make the playoffs. But both teams have been excellent in the preseason, with both teams boasting winning records in their exhibition contests. On Thursday night, they will face one another with the chance to get one last victory before the regular season.
In this Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets preview, we break down the matchup between these two teams and provide our expert pick for this contest in their final preseason game before the tip off of the 2021-2022 season.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Having A Perfect Preseason
So far this preseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to suffer a defeat, beating the Clippers, Nuggets and Pelicans to stand at 3-0 heading into this clash with the Brooklyn Nets. In their last game, the Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers by 28 points, relying heavily on their regular rotation players to dominate the preseason squad put out by the Clippers. Minnesota had six double figure scorers in that game, five of whom are regular contributors for the team during the season.
The big three for the Timberwolves of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards combined for 53 points in their last game. Those three players will factor in prominently again in this game, especially with the Nets missing the third member of their big three. Expect this trio to overwhelm a Nets team that has its eyes on much bigger prizes than a victory in the preseason.
Expected Line-Up: D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns
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Brooklyn Nets – Navigating Team Turmoil
Coming into their final game of the 2021 preseason, the Brooklyn Nets’ attention is anywhere but on the court. They are currently dealing with the off-court issues surrounding Kyrie Irving, who has been determined to be a non-participant for the team based on COVID-19 restrictions for this season. With Irving not likely to play for an extended period of time, the preseason has become a chance for other players to prove themselves as replacements.
In this preseason game, James Harden is going to continue to handle the ball and assume those duties that Irving once held. But the question of who the team’s fifth starter will be remains a mystery. Bruce Brown has shown that he can play with the top end members of the Nets rotation, but options like Patty Mills and Jevon Carter may be options at times in this game and in the regular season as well.
Expected Line-Up: James Harden, Bruce Brown, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin
Expert Pick #1 – Timberwolves +8.5 @ -110
At odds of -110, the Minnesota Timberwolves +8.5 points is the first bet worth making in this preseason matchup. Minnesota hasn’t lost in the preseason yet, and they have a decent advantage on the interior in this game with Towns and Naz Reid likely to impose themselves physically on a Nets team that isn’t likely to have a true center available for this game with Nic Claxton unavailable during the tail end of the preseason.
Expert Pick #2 – Timberwolves to Win @ +285
In something of a correlated play to the Timberwolves point spread, the Timberwolves moneyline is also a bet worth making at +285 odds. With a huge game against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks coming on Tuesday, the Nets aren’t likely to go all out for a win here, while the Timberwolves have to try at every turn to build a culture that has been sorely lacking in Minnesota. Expect a decent effort from the Wolves here, which will make them live dogs.
Expert Pick #3 – Over 227.5 @ -112
The last bet to be made on this game is the over 227.5 at -112 odds. Minnesota is a poor defensive team even when their best players are active, while the Nets aren’t expected to give their full effort on the defensive end of the floor as the preseason draws to a close. Expect them to prioritize their health over the idea of digging in defensively on every possession in a game that doesn’t mean anything to their ultimate goal of winning a title.
When all is said and done, the Minnesota Timberwolves should be the team to win this game and finish their preseason with an unbeaten record. Neither team is particularly proficient on the defensive end, which means that the over is also in play for this game. But the most important thing to remember for this game is that the Wolves should come out ahead when the final buzzer sounds.