Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

The Minnesota Timberwolves look to build a winning streak as they begin their road trip by taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

The Timberwolves are riding a modest two-game winning streak and are headed to OKC to take on the Thunder for the second time in 48 hours.

The Wolves are finally entirely healthy, save for Leandro Bolmaro, who just landed on the health and safety protocols list. But the starting lineup is intact for the first time in three weeks, and with an easy schedule on the horizon, there’s a real chance to gain some ground in the Western Conference.

Minnesota is No. 9 in the West but is only a half-game behind the LA Clippers for No. 8, a game behind the Denver Nuggets for No. 7, and 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for No. 7, which would lift them out of the play-in round.

While the Thunder have been better than expected behind the pleasantly-surprising play of rookie Josh Giddey, they’re still a team that the Wolves should manage to defeat with relative ease — especially with a full-strength starting lineup.

The Wolves head to Houston to take on the Rockets on Sunday before going to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Tuesday night, so it’s prime time to build a five-game winning streak before facing the Memphis Grizzlies on the road next week.

Minnesota Timberwolves odds at Oklahoma City Thunder

The Timberwolves are five-point favorites on the road on Friday night, according to WynnBet. The line seems about right, if not a bit low after beating the Thunder in Minneapolis by eight points on Wednesday despite playing a terrible offensive game.

TV and streaming info for Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder

What to watch for in Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder

On Wednesday, a much smaller Thunder lineup only lost the battle on the glass by three rebounds against the Wolves and managed to score more points in the paint than Minnesota.

Despite shooting just 18.8 percent in the first quarter and turning the ball over seemingly every other time down the court in the opening frame en route to a 30-10 deficit, the Thunder managed to catch up to the Wolves in the middle stages of the game due to some sloppy offense and poor shooting form the Wolves and a relentlessness on the boards that was led by Kenrich Williams and Giddey.

Williams gave Karl-Anthony Towns fits, too, as OKC drew three fouls on the Wolves superstar big man.

If Towns can stay out of foul trouble and Towns and Jarred Vanderbilt control the glass as they should, it shouldn’t be a close game on Friday night. The Wolves are the better shooting team, the better rebounding team, and easily the deeper team.

Minnesota will also need at least one of Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell, who combined to shoot 3-for-20 on Wednesday, to show up this time around. The Wolves can’t expect Jaylen Nowell to be perfect from the floor every night, or for Patrick Beverley to drain five 3-pointers again.

Injury report for Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder

The Wolves won’t have Bolmaro or McKinley Wright IV, with the former out due to health and safety protocols and the latter on assignment in the G League.

The Thunder have listed both Lu Dort and Derrick Favors as questionable after neither player appeared in Wednesday’s game.

We’ll be back after the contest with player grades. Enjoy Friday night hoops, and here’s to 19-20!