The Minnesota Timberwolves will try to get back on track on Monday night on the road as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers: Odds, injuries, game preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves came out of the All-Star break with a bang, scoring an impressive win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. But last time out, the Philadelphia 76ers rolled to a 133-102 win in James Harden’s team debut on Friday night.
Minnesota will look to bounce back against another Eastern Conference contender in the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday evening at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Despite the blowout loss to the Sixers, the Timberwolves sit at 32-29 and remain in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference. Every game is crucial at this point in the season as Minnesota aims to hold off the lurking LA Clippers and LA Lakers for potential home-court advantage in the upcoming play-in tournament.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are in line for a top-four seed at 36-24 and just 3.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland has won an impressive eight consecutive home games and ranks fourth in the conference with 47.2 points per game. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley have formed a dominant frontcourt on both ends of the floor and were a big reason why the Cavaliers won at Minnesota 123-106 in early December.
Allen led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds that night. He also shoots a team-high 66.4 percent from the field.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers odds
According to Wynn Bet, the Timberwolves are favored by three points prior to tip-off in Cleveland.
Minnesota ranks No. 6 in the league with an average of 113.1 points and has been even better over their last 10 contests at 118.1 points per game. Still, the Cavaliers have a 54.2 percent chance to win, per ESPN.
Cleveland is 17-10 at home against the spread this season. The Timberwolves are 1-3 in their last four games against the spread.
Additionally, the over/under is set at 222.5 points. Minnesota has combined to hit the over in four out of their last five games but went just 2-3 during that span. Cleveland ranks near the top of the league defensively and a good amount of their games are relatively low-scoring. 20 out of the last 27 home games for the Cavaliers have gone under the expected total. The Cleveland defense is allowing just 101.5 points in their last 10 games.
What to watch for in Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers
Both teams are 1-1 since returning from the All-Star break and certainly have something to play for with their respective playoff races tightening up.
Even with a couple of players potentially sidelined, it should be a competitive game in Cleveland. The Cavaliers most recently took down the Wizards 92-86 on Saturday as Lauri Markkanen totaled 23 points and six rebounds. Mobley, the current favorite for Rookie of the Year, finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota went 2-2 during a four-game homestand after a win at Indiana in their last away matchup on Feb. 13. The Timberwolves knocked off current No. 3-seeded Memphis by a score of 119-114 on Thursday following the week-long recess.
Put simply, Chris Finch needs second-leading scorer Anthony Edwards to break out of his slump.
Edwards is averaging 21.4 points per game but hasn’t scored more than 15 since the win at Indiana two weeks ago. After scoring 37 points that afternoon, the sophomore guard has combined for only 35 points in his last four games. He also had just 13 points in the loss against the Cavaliers in December.
Karl-Anthony Towns has been carrying a lot of the scoring load lately, going for 20-plus points in 13 out 14 games, including a trio of 30-point, 10-rebound outings in the last month. D’Angelo Russell has also been playing well, most notably with 37 points and nine assists in the win over Memphis last week.
The Timberwolves have a really dangerous offense when all three leading scorers are active and engaged. Cleveland certainly has the defenders to make them uncomfortable though with Isaac Okoro alongside the aforementioned Allen and Mobley. Since Towns is probably going to be around the perimeter a lot, it’ll be important for Edwards and Russell to get into the paint and draw extra defenders.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers injury report
Malik Beasley missed the loss to Philadelphia due to a non-COVID illness but is probable to play on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers will be without a good chunk of their rotation as starting point guard Darius Garland is questionable with a back injury, in addition to Caris LeVert (foot) and Rajon Rondo (toe) being ruled out for a couple of weeks. Garland averages a team-high 20.3 points and 8.0 assists per game. Additionally, Collin Sexton is out for the season with a torn ACL.
We’ll be back after the game with player grades. Enjoy Monday night hoops!