By: Seth Toupal
The Timberwolves welcome one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference to the Target Center in the Milwaukee Bucks. Led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and a very talented supporting cast, the Bucks are thriving under new head coach Mike Budenholzer. The Wolves are very tough at home in the Jimmy Butler era, so will the Bucks suffer their first loss of the year or will the Wolves be handed their first home loss this season? Something has to give.
What: Bucks @ Wolves
When: 7:00 PM CT
Where: Target Center
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 AM WCCO
What to watch for:
Wide Open Spaces: The Bucks made a huge effort to build around their franchise cornerstone and put teams in difficult spots when trying to play defense. The addition of Brook Lopez and his ability to knock down 3's has freed up Giannis to feast down low. Giannis also has the freedom and ability to kick out to any of his waiting shooters if teams crash on him in the paint. Might as well call them Houston East. The Wolves will have to force the Bucks off the 3 point line or we could see a similar result to any of those losses against the Rockets last year.
It's Time for Angry KAT: Karl-Anthony Towns has had a rough start to the season to say the least. After appearing to check himself out of the game against Toronto, how will Towns respond against another tough and physical matchup against the Bucks? A rebound performance would do wonders for Towns' confidence which has definitely taken a hit. Some ferocious dunks or blocks could help get him going.
Bombs from the Bench: The Wolves bench will need to be able to match the Bucks in production. This is a perfect game for Anthony Tolliver to come in and launch from deep whenever he has a chance. They will also need good Derrick Rose, and a little Okogie sprinkled in to try to lock somebody down. In a matchup of star power it will likely come down to whoever gets the most out of their bench.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins (Josh Okogie will start at SG if Wiggins is out), SF Jimmy Butler, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Milwaukee: PG Malcolm Brogdon, SG Eric Bledsoe, SF Khris Middleton, PF Giannis Antetokounmpo, C Brook Lopez
Minnesota: OUT - Justin Patton (foot) QUESTIONABLE - Andrew Wiggins (quad)
Milwaukee: QUESTIONABLE - Matthew Dellavadova (illness)
The tough stretch to start the year continues for the Wolves. We will have to wait and see if Andrew Wiggins is able to suit up or if he will miss his second straight game. Giannis will be difficult to stop, but if the Wolves can limit some of the key role players on the roster they will have a chance to knock off the Bucks. The Wolves will need Karl-Anthony Towns to have a much better game than he did against Toronto, otherwise this game could get out of hand quickly. My guess is the Wolves keep it close if Wiggins plays, if not who knows.
Bucks 116, Wolves 108 :(
Seth is host of The Scoop on KLGR Radio out of Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Listen to episodes of The Scoop here.