Minnesota Timberwolves at Nuggets: Odds, injuries and what to watch for

Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be without both of their star players as they head to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Nuggets.

Neither Karl-Anthony Towns or D’Angelo Russell will be available as the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the 38-18 Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon.

Towns will be out for at least two weeks as he nurses a fractured wrist, while the Wolves announced on Saturday that the game in Denver would a planned rest day for Russell, allowing him to rest what is apparently a sore knee.

That means that the Wolves will rely heavily on two-way player Jordan McLaughlin once again as the only true point guard on the roster. Naz Reid will almost certainly get his second consecutive start, which is also just the second start of his NBA career.

It will also be the return of both Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez, who each spent the first three-plus years of their respective careers in the Nuggets’ rotation. They both saw their playing time diminish this season on one of the league’s deepest teams, and both players have flourished in expanded roles through four games with the Timberwolves.

The Nuggets now feature former Wolves Keita Bates-Diop and Noah Vonleh on the fringes of their rotation, although both men have received DNP-CDs since their acquisition.

Timberwolves odds against the Nuggets

Tickets, TV and streaming info for Timberwolves at Nuggets

What to watch for in Wolves at Nuggets

The Nuggets have lost two straight games: at home to the Lakers by four points and and a 12-point road loss to the Thunder on Friday.

In the final game before the All-Star break, the Wolves led by 16 points and ultimately lost to the Charlotte Hornets. In their only contest since the break, Minnesota put up a fight before ultimately losing by 10 to the Celtics at home on Friday night. The Wolves were without Towns in that game, but Russell played. He is not available on Sunday in Denver.

The Nuggets are already one of the deepest teams in the league, and their advantage is only that much more obvious against a struggling team with its two best players out. Minnesota will rely heavily on the two former Nuggets, Beasley and Hernangomez, as well as veteran James Johnson.

Johnson will likely be the de facto backup point guard and could see some minutes at the 5, too. Expect McLaughlin to play at least 35 minutes in this one as the only available point guard.

This game could get out of hand quickly for the shorthanded Wolves, but here’s hoping that Beasley and Hernangomez each have a bit more hop in their step as they visit their old stomping grounds.

Injury Report

The Wolves are without Towns (wrist) and Russell (knee/planned rest). Jake Layman remains out with his toe injury, although he may have a shot to return by next weekend.

The Nuggets will have their entire rotation healthy and available to them.

Next. What will the Wolves' rotation look like with Towns out?. dark

We’ll be back after the game with player grades. Enjoy the early Sunday evening basketball!