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Timberwolves Try To Snap Skid Against Warriors

Minnesota on Two-Game Slide

The Golden State Warriors wrap up an up-and-down road trip when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. The opening tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at Target Center in Minneapolis.

The Warriors lost the first two games of this road swing but blew out the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, 138-96. Golden State is 31-11 and in second place in the Pacific Division, trailing the first-place Phoenix Suns by 1½ games.

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Minnesota has dropped two straight, including a 116-108 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. The Timberwolves fell to 20-22 and are third in the Northwest Division, trailing the second-place Denver Nuggets by 2½ games and leading the fourth-place Portland Trail Blazers by three games.

The NBA lines for this contest have the Timberwolves as 5½-point favorites at home, with the over/under set at 218 points if you want to make that bet online.

Missing Pieces

The Warriors will not be the team on Sunday night that many believe will contend for the Western Conference title this season. Out of the lineup will be All-Stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, making Golden State less dangerous on both ends of the floor.

Curry is out with a sore hand that he fell on during the team’s easy win over the Bulls on Friday night. The Warriors want to be cautious with the league’s sixth-leading scorer at 26.3 points per game. Curry is shooting 38.4% from 3-point range and leads the NBA with 4.9 3-pointers per game this season.

Green is out with a calf injury that has kept him out since Jan. 5 (he appeared for less than a minute against Cleveland on Jan. 9 so that he could be on the court for Klay Thompson’s return). Green runs the offense for the Warriors, ranking ninth in the NBA with 7.4 assists per game as well as averaging 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.4 steals.

With Curry and Green out, Thompson could see some more time and be a focal point of the Golden State attack. Thompson has played in three games since returning to the court after two-plus seasons, averaging 14.0 points in 20 minutes per game. The Warriors are trying to work him back in, but he should be ready for more time in this one.

Forward Andrew Wiggins will also see the ball quite a bit, especially against his old club. Wiggins is averaging 18.6 points per game and shooting 42.5% from the floor, and the matchup between him and the Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards should be fun to watch.

Very Close

The Timberwolves are on a two-game losing streak, though both losses were down to the wire, with Minnesota falling by eight to Memphis and three to the New Orleans Pelicans. The team had won four straight before these two losses but needs to put it back together to get closer to the .500 mark.

“It’s all about attention to details,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said after Thursday’s loss. “It’s all about the small things. It’s all about the winning plays. You’re going to be in close games, and that’s going to win you games, and that, right now, is not what we’re doing.”

Edwards had 30 points in the loss to the Grizzlies and is averaging 24.1 points over the last seven games. The second-year forward is averaging 22.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and a team-best 1.6 steals per contest.

Center Karl-Anthony Towns leads the Timberwolves in scoring (24.6 points), rebounding (9.3) and blocked shots (1.2). He scored just 17 points in the first meeting with the Warriors and will be looking for a better showing in this one.

Guard D’Angelo Russell was part of the trade that sent Wiggins to the Warriors, so he’d like to do well against his former squad as well. Russell had 29 points and six assists despite fouling out against the Grizzlies and is averaging 19.0 points and 7.0 assists per game this season.

Minnesota Prevails

The Warriors have more depth than in the past when Curry has been injured, especially with Thompson back, but they’ll have their troubles in this one. Minnesota needs a win to snap its losing skid, and it will get it with ease against the short-handed Warriors.

When doing your NBA betting, take the Timberwolves to win and cover at home.

Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves -5½

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