NBA Game Preview: Minnesota T’Wolves at Los Angeles Lakers

Apr 11, 2023

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Game: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Los Angeles Lakers

Time: 10:00 p.m.

Odds: TWolves +8, Lakers -8

Total: 231.5

Tuesday night’s second game of the 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament pits the Timberwolves against the Lakers. Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels won’t be available for the Wolves. The former is out after punching teammate Kyle Anderson and the latter suffered a fractured right hand after punching a wall.

Gobert got into it with Anderson in the TWolves’ final game of the regular season, a win over New Orleans.  The Timberwolves only suspended Gobert for the one game against the Lakers. He did not accompany the team to Los Angeles. It is anticipated that Gobert will be able to participate in Minnesota’s upcoming matchup, which will either be Game 1 of their series against the Memphis Grizzlies or the winner of the Thunder-Pelicans play-in game. The only Lakers player who may not be fully healthy is Dennis Schroder.

How the TWolves will react to the conflict is unknown. The team may come together as a result of it, or it may be a chemistry disaster. What we do know is this. When Gobert is not playing, the Wolves’ offense is clearly much better. In their 12 games without Gobert, the Timberwolves have an Offensive Rating of 118.1. When the Wolves are allowed to play with spacing, they are much better than their 113.8 rating when Gobert is present on the floor. Expect Minnesota to utilize that space tonight since they won’t have Gobert, McDaniels or backup big man Naz Reid.

The Lakers are especially vulnerable to three-point barrages. LA allows the ninth-most three-point attempts and the seventh-most non-corner threes. Shooters like Mike Conley and Karl-Anthony Towns are in a great position to make long distance shots as a result. In terms of non-corner three-point rate, Towns and Conley rank in the 85th and 80th percentiles, respectively.

After a disastrous start to the regular season, the Lakers managed to handle business late and willed themselves to the No. 7 seed. They became just the sixth NBA team in history to start the season with a record of 2-10 or worse before finishing with one that was better than.500.

The Lakers have won games by utilizing a fast-paced offense and tenacious half-court defense over the course of their last ten games, going 8-2 straight up and 6-4 ATS. With the exception of one game, a victory over the Thunder without LeBron James, the Lakers’ transition offense hasn’t fallen below the 50th percentile during this period. LA ranks third in possessions per game.

Despite effective half-court defense, Lakers games have had high scoring averages. Although it has the ninth-best half-court defense, L.A. has struggled defensively in transition, where it is ranked 28th. In their last ten games, the Over is 9-1.

The faster pace has benefited Austin Reaves. In comparison to his season averages of 13 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game, his statistical output has significantly increased. Reaves has averaged 18.3 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds over the last 10 games.

The Lakers are 6-1 SU in their last seven games and 5-1 SU in their last six at home. Minnesota finished the season going 7-3 SU in its last ten games.

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