These two are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The Los Angeles Lakers have been gelling better since the All-Star break, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off an insane game where there was an in-team altercation and key player Jaden McDaniels fractured his hand out of frustration.
Catch the game this Wednesday, April 12th, at 10:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Los Angeles Lakers (43-39, 23-18 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- D’Angelo Russell
- Austin Reaves
- LeBron James
- Jarred Vanderbilt
- Anthony Davis
The Lakers finished their whirlwind 2022-23 regular season by winning nine of their last 11 games. In that stretch, they scored 121.5 points per game with a +7.3 net rating. Hopefully, it breeds confidence for Wednesday’s crucial game as it’s far from what they did against the Timberwolves in three meetings this season – they went 1-2 and had 109.0 PPG on -1.7 net rating.
As always, it will be up to LeBron James and Anthony Davis to carry the Purple and Gold. James has 30.5/6.3/6.3 on 50.5/48.5/80.0 splits in his last four outings, granted it’s facing a mostly shorthanded team. Davis laid low in the last couple of games, but he was vintage AD in March, registering 27.9/12.3/2.9/0.8/1.6 on 58.5% shooting in 13 games.
The secondary weapons, particularly D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, are also commendable, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them get featured more than James and/or Davis. Reaves has 19.8 points and 5.8 dimes with 56.7/40.8/86.9 splits in his last 13 contests.
AWAY: Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40, 20-21 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Mike Conley
- Anthony Edwards
- Jaden McDaniels (out) / Kyle Anderson
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Rudy Gobert (day-to-day)
The Timberwolves were hot-and-cold over the past month. Fortunately, they ended it hot as they concluded the regular season on a three-game winning streak, where they punched in 123.7 PPG with a +10 net rating.
Speaking of “punched in,” defensive stopper Jaden McDaniels is likely to be out as he fractured his hand after punching a wall. Also, Rudy Gobert hit Kyle Anderson in the chest during a heated back-and-forth on the bench and was subsequently sent home. It’s unclear if he’ll be suspended, but knowing the importance of the game, he’ll most probably play.
The loss of McDaniels, and possibly Gobert, are certainly huge either way. However, let’s not forget that there are other weapons present, and knowing how erratic the Lakers are, the concern shouldn’t be that much. Anthony Edwards (24.6 PPG) and Karl-Anthony Towns (20.6 PPG) are a good counter to James and Davis, and they have a veteran floor general in Mike Conley. Then, there’s the all-around Kyle Anderson and reliable ‘3 and D’ guy Taurean Prince. Lastly, keep in mind that this team beat the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, where the Dubs were seemingly unbeatable.
Handicap: The Lakers (-7) fail to cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total goes over 228.5.