By: Eric Page
The Wolves are coming off a 115-108 home win over the Suns on Monday and are playing their best basketball of the season during a 2-2 stretch over the past four games after suffering an embarrassing home loss to the Pistons 12 days ago. The Wolves held late leads in both losses in that stretch, which came to two of the best teams in the West (Golden State and Houston).
So, what’s changed? Karl-Anthony Towns is playing more assertive and getting more touches inside, and the offense is flowing better as a result, with more ball movement (24 team assists up from 20) and more open shots on the perimeter for guys like Zach Lavine and Andrew Wiggins. As a result, Towns is averaging 27.5 points and 15 boards over the past four, and Wiggs and Lavine are both knocking down 3s at plus-45%.
What: Wolves (8-19) at Hawks (14-14)
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta
When: 6:30 p.m. CST
Where to watch: FSN North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for:
Versatile bigs: The matchup of Towns and Paul Millsap will be fun, as both are able to play inside and out. Towns is playing his best basketball of the season, and Millsap is coming off a 30 point, 11 rebound performance in Monday’s win over the Thunder.
Ricky vs. Dennis: Rubio had his best game of the year in Mondays’ win over the Suns, finishing with 12 assists. Schroder presents a challenge, in that he is a quick guard who can score and distribute. He had 31 points, 8 assists and 5 boards in a matchup with Russell Westbrook on Monday. Ricky (and Kris Dunn) containing Schroder will be key to the Wolves chances.
Two in a row: Can the Wolves win back to back games for the first time this year?
The Wolves swept the Hawks last season, 2-0.
The Wolves and Hawks will play twice in the next five days, with Atlanta visiting the Target Center on the 26th.
Hawks big man Dwight Howard is out with an injury.
I expect Towns to continue his dominant play and for the Wovles offense to continue clicking. Wolves 111, Hawks 99.