The Denver Nuggets try to win their second straight game when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves in a Northwest Division contest on Thursday. The game is set to tip-off at 8 p.m. ET at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
The Nuggets are coming off a road win over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday that snapped a two-game losing streak. Denver is 45-24 and in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, trailing the third-place LA Clippers by a game entering Thursday’s action.
Minnesota has been out of the running for a playoff berth for a while, but the Timberwolves continue to play hard and win, coming into this game on a two-game winning streak. The Timberwolves are 22-47 and in 13th place in the Western Conference, 1½ games ahead of the 14th-place Oklahoma City Thunder.
Looking at the NBA odds for this one, the Nuggets are five-point favorites on the road, with the over/under set for 235.
The Nuggets have been hit by injuries a bit lately, but they are still trying to move up to the third spot in the Western Conference standings in the season’s final days. Denver will play the rest of the season without guard Jamal Murray, who was the team’s second-leading scorer when he tore his ACL in mid-April.
Denver does have one of the leading candidates for NBA MVP in center Nikola Jokic. The 26-year-old has odds of -4000 with four days remaining in the regular season. Jokic is averaging career-high numbers with 26.5 points and 8.5 assists per game and also grabs 10.8 rebounds per contest.
Jokic is coming off a 30-point, 11-rebound, six-assist performance in the win over Charlotte. He is averaging 29.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 7.2 assists over his last six games.
Forward Michael Porter Jr. has emerged as the Nuggets’ second scorer with Murray sidelined, averaging 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in his second NBA season. Porter is also coming off a 30-point outing in the win over Charlotte and has averaged 29.6 points over the last three games.
The Timberwolves have gone 8-5 in their last 13 games, including a pair of wins over the Jazz as well as victories over the Heat and Warriors. Coach Chris Finch took over during the season and is working on getting all of his main players on the same page heading into his first full campaign, so Minnesota is playing all of its regulars despite being out of postseason contention.
The Timberwolves have been coming out fast to start games lately, something that has helped them against some sluggish opponents. In Tuesday’s win over Detroit, Minnesota led 62-40 at halftime, which came one game after the Timberwolves forged a 74-44 halftime advantage over the Magic.
“When you are playing any NBA team, you can do yourself a lot of good by getting out to an early lead,” Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns said after Tuesday’s win. “When you start the game playing well, it is easier to keep that going.”
Towns has been healthy and playing well in the season’s final weeks, averaging 25.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals over the last 10 games. Rookie forward Anthony Edwards has also been playing very well, averaging 23.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals over the last 10 games as the two look like a solid 1-2 combo for the Timberwolves going forward.
Nuggets Get Close Win
The Timberwolves are playing like they have something to prove, which they do — to the rest of the league and to their new coach heading into the offseason. Towns and Edwards have been very good and will give the Nuggets some trouble in this one.
Denver is firmly in the playoff field, but it would like to have a home-court advantage for as long as possible, considering it is 25-11 when playing in Colorado this season. The Nuggets will come away with the win in this one, just barely covering the five-point spread.
When doing your NBA betting, go with Denver to win and cover on the road.