Minnesota v Golden State | Saturday, March 11, Noon (AEDT), Target Center, Minnesota
It wasn’t that long ago that a match-up between the young Minnesota Timberwolves and Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors would be a mismatch but things have dramatically changed in recent days.
With prized signing Kevin Durant consigned to the sidelines after sustaining a grade 2 MCL knee sprain against the Wizards, the Warriors (52-12, 26-8 away) are suddenly in a slumber they’ve yet to awaken from.
Without their leading scorer (25.3 PPG) and rebounder (8.2 RPG), the Warriors have dropped three of their past five including Thursday’s 99-86 defeat to the Boston Celtics in Oakland.
On the other hand, the upstart Timberwolves (26-37, 16-18 home) are trending in the opposite direction and have won seven of their last 11 including an impressive 107-91 victory over the LA Clippers in Minnesota.
They're won three of their last four, a stretch that includes a 107-80 win over finals-bound Utah. Minnesota's lone blemish was a 97-90 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
A major driving force behind their recent surge has been big man Karl Anthony-Towns.
The former Kentucky star, who bagged a double double of 24 points and 14 boards against the Spurs, is averaging a team-high 24.0 PPG.
The T’Wolves have also improved their depth and experience with the signing former Indiana wing Lance Stephenson to another 10-day contract.
The former Pacers star had a 10-day contract with the T’Wolves on February 9 but suffered an ankle injury on the 6th day.
Without Durant, the Splash brothers have shouldered the scoring burden but the Warriors got a timely boost from Andre Iguodala who poured in a team-high 24 points in the Warriors’ 119-111 win over the Hawks in their recent Eastern swing.
Curry said the Warriors are determined to maintain their identity without Durant.
Both sides prefer to share the ball in an offence aimed at making that extra pass and getting to the open man.
The Timberwolves are 10th in the NBA in assists with 23.5 APG with Spanish guard Ricky Rubio averaging a team-high 8.6 APG but no-one is more proficient than the Warriors who share the rock better than anyone else.
Steve Kerr’s men average a NBA-leading 30.7 APG with former Michigan State star Draymond Green (pictured above) leading the way with a team-high 7.2 APG.
It promises to be an entertaining game with plenty of ball movement and if it comes down to who moves the ball better, the Warriors hold the edge.
While this match won't define their season, the Warriors will be keen to make a statement and show the league they can prosper without KD.
Warriors to get a critical road win here.
Unibet Odds: Minnesota 2.70 Golden State 1.48
Tip: Golden State
Line tip: Minnesota +5.5
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