By: Jonah Sprinkel
The Minnesota Timberwolves will finish off their first long (four game) home stand of the season against the Washington Wizards, sans John Wall. With the betting line even, the flow of this game should feel familiar to Wolves fans.
By familiar, I mean a game like the one played this last Sunday against the Phoenix Suns. The Wolves continue to find ways to leave the door open to their opposition through poor defense, lazy communication, and inefficient isolation offense. Mistakes like these may not cost the Wolves against teams like Phoenix. However, when a sure-fire playoff team comes to town you can be certain they will try their best to exploit these issues.
What to watch for
Tyus Jones: After posting the NBA’s first ever stat line of nine points, seven assists and seven steals the backup point guard has made a little bit of a name for himself in NBA circles. Hopefully word of Tyus’ stellar night reaches Tom Thibodeau who gives the little man a longer leash. Tyus’ nose for the ball as well as his ability to initiate offense should not go to waste.
Wiz offense v. Wolves defense: The Wizards currently hold the sixth best offense in the league with a 110.4 offensive rating. The Wolves are the proud owners of the league’s 27th ranked defense. Though the Wizards are missing arguably their best player, the lineup that features Tim Frazier in Wall’s spot has stroked the three ball at a 48 percent clip through 4 games.
Karl-Anthony Town’s defense: I don’t know how many times this has been or will be discussed in the Timberwolves world but Town’s need to play defense in order for this team to win consistently. Our own Dan Slaubaugh even had some words on the matter. On some nights the effort is there, other nights, not so much. The one thing that remains the same are the On/Off numbers. With Towns on the floor the Wolves defensive rating sits at a putrid 113.4. Once off the floor, that numbers changes to 103.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Jimmy Butler, SF Andrew Wiggins, PF Taj Gibson C Karl-Anthony Towns
Wizards: PG Tim Frazier, SG Bradley Beal, SF Otto Porter, PF Markieff Morris, C Marcin Gortat
The Wolves win a nail biter 109-107. This team knows the importance of defending their home court and with John Wall out they should be able to exploit Tim Frazier in the pick and roll.