Two of the top three teams in the Western Conference are on a date this Friday, as Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks host the Minnesota Timberwolves. Will the Timberwolves get right back up after a loss? Or, will the Mavs continue winning without Kyrie Irving?
Catch this game live on Saturday, December 15, 2023 at 9:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Minnesota Timberwolves (17-5/7-4 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- Mike Conley
- Anthony Edwards (Questionable)
- Jaden McDaniels (Questionable)
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Rudy Gobert
The Timberwolves ran into a wall of beef in their last game, as they saw their six-game win streak end at the hands of Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on the road on Tuesday, 121-107. It was high time for Minnesota to cool down, though, considering how terrific the stretch it had before that meeting. Despite the loss to the Pels, there is nothing to panic about for the Timberwolves, who rarely lose this season.
That’s also why they are only 3-1 against the spread in games after a loss so far in the 2023-24 campaign — the fourth-best cover rate in the league under that scenario. Minnesota also appears to have a shot at getting Anthony Edwards back after Antman missed the New Orleans game with a right hip pointer. It’s a good sign that he’s already practiced ahead of this date against a banged-up Dallas squad. The Mavs could also be stunned by the T’wolves’ defense which is arguably the best in the league, one that is allowing only 105.2 points per game and holding teams down to just 49.4 eFG%.
Home: Dallas Mavericks (15-8/7-4 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- Luka Doncic
- Dante Exum
- Jaden Hardy
- Grant Williams
- Dereck Lively II
The Mavericks continue to find success without Kyrie Irving. The basketball wizard has been absent in the last two Mavs games because of a heel issue, but his team has won both, including last Wednesday’s 127-125 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at home. Dallas, which is now on a four-game undefeated streak, got a surprise performance from Dante Exum versus the Lakers.
Exum reminded everyone he still exists in the NBA realm when he went off for 26 points on the strength of 7/9 shooting from deep. It’s probably not ideal to put much stock in Exum replicating that stellar outside shooting, but the Timberwolves will still have to be wary of him. That could mean more space for Luka Doncic to operate after he dropped 33 points with 17 assists in the win over LA. Dallas has also been more productive on offense in the last two games without Irving than it has been all season. Over their last couple of outings, the Mavs have averaged 123.5 points, while their season average is 120.2 per contest.
Spread: The Timberwolves (+1.5) cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total (229.5) hits the Over.