NBA Picks ATS: Minnesota T-Wolves at L.A. Lakers

Minnesota at L.A. Lakers
Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: MIN -4.5
Total: 221

Odds c/o 5dimes

L.A. Notes:

The Lakers have won four of its last 10 games, with victories over Dallas, Sacramento, Atlanta and Miami.

Three of those four teams are out of the playoff chase, and the Lakers have been playing their best ball of the season.

The Lakers hung 131 points on the defensive-oriented Miami Heat in a 131-113 win, as Isaiah Thomas recaptured some of his mojo in scoring 29 points on 11 of 20 shooting.

Power forward Julius Randle also had a big game, scoring 25 points and grabbing six boards while starting and playing 34 minutes. Former starter Kyle Kuzma came off the bench behind Randle to hit 6 of 10 from the floor in 28 minutes en route to 16 points.

The Lakers have been starting Lonzo Ball at the 1-spot, and the rookie came through with eight points, six steals, seven assists and six rebounds while posting a team-best +24 in his 34 minutes on the court. Ball does so many of the small things, and he is really making an impact as the numbers reflect the Lakers playing better ball with the former UCLA guard on the court. Ball has averaged 7.5 points and six assists in three games since returning from injury, but his game against the Heat was probably his best since returning from injury.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was impressed, and called himself a “fan” of Lonzo Ball, and Luke Walton said he was “the best player on the court, though he only shot five times,” adding, “He is a unique player who can impact the game all over.” The Lakers may have a long-shot to make the postseason, but with the pieces coming together and the way the team is playing, the future is probably far brighter far sooner than most have anticipated. Ball is the real deal, even if the hype from his father has cast a light on him far brighter than he wanted to deal with.

Minnesota Notes:

The Timberwolves have been so strong at home this season, where it has posted a 28-10 mark, but now it needs to get its act together on the road. Minnesota is just 15-23 on the road this season, and that is part of the reason Tom Thibodeau’s Wolves are just 6-point favorites against one of the league’s worst teams.
Moreover, Minnesota will not have home court advantage at any point in this season’s playoffs (unless they ascend to a top-4 seed before the final week), so winning on the road will be imperative to have any real chance at success this season.

Even so, this has been a major year of growth for Thibodeau’s team, and the acquisition of veteran Jimmy Butler has plenty to do with it. Butler emerged as a star under Thibbs in Chicago, and the Wolves were savvy to acquire him for Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn on 2017 Draft night. He has become something of a missing piece, and while his offensive numbers are down, the defensive presence and leadership he has brought to this young team has been invaluable.
Beyond the obvious, the Wolves have the pieces in place already to score points—that had never been the problem.

Minnesota is averaging nearly 110 points per game this season, but allowing 107.7.

That defensive blemish, as well as some issues executing late in games, is largely what has capped the Wolves’ progress in still what has to be considered an overwhelming season of progression.

Towns is averaging 21.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, while Butler does lead the team in scoring at 22.2 points per night. Andrew Wiggins has started to round out his game a little bit more, but still has a lot of growth to make before he can be called a ‘complete player.’ The Wolves also have got a little less from Jeff Teague than it might have hoped for. His 14 points and seven assists per game pretty much fill the role once occupied by Ricky Rubio, but there are times when his teammates may wish he were a little more assertive and greedy with the ball in his hands.

The Wolves also may need more from sixth man Jamal Crawford if it is to make a serious playoff run. We are all aware of how well Crawford can light it up off an NBA bench, but this season he is averaging just 10 points per game while shooting 41 percent from the floor and 33 percent from three-point range. Minnesota connects on “only” 8.1 threes per game while shooting 36 percent of a team, so its methodology differs somewhat from the likes of Houston and Golden State. That may end up being its secret strength if it is to succeed as young underdogs in the 2018 playoffs.

Maddux Handicappers are killing the NBA game again, subscribe to our affordable season pick packages TODAY! 

Share This Post

The information contained at this site is for entertainment purposes only. Any use of this information in violation of any state, federal, or local laws is prohibited.
Copyright © - Premier Sports Picks and Sports Odds Web site