The Minnesota Timberwolves have done a few stupid things over the last week. But can they overcome those things to advance to the playoffs? They are coming into their “last chance” game in the NBA Play-In Tournament, having blown a 15-point lead against the Los Angeles Lakers, dropping a 108-102 overtime decision.
Perhaps more significant to BetOnline customers is the fact that center Rudy Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, caught a one-game suspension for throwing a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson on the sidelines, and that caused him to miss the game with the Lakers. Then Jalen McDaniels suffered an injury when he punched a wall, and he is out, period.
Gobert will be in the lineup when the Wolves meet up with the Oklahoma City Thunder in Minneapolis on Friday. The Thunder are off an inspirational road win over the New Orleans Pelicans, and that was a feel-good moment for a young club for which there were no expectations at the season’s outset.
The Thunder was fortunate that Zion Williamson, who was throwing down dunks in the pre-game warmup, sat out with an “injury,” which is pretty much the story with him. And Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was fourth in the NBA in scoring at 31.4 points per game, overcame a slow start to tally 32 points. Josh Giddey added 31, and Lu Dort had 27 in the 123-118 victory.
So OKC, which finished just two games below the .500 mark, advances into the playoffs if they can grab another road win at the Target Center.
In the NBA playoff betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline casino, the Wolves are laying points:
Minnesota Timberwolves -6
Oklahoma City Thunder +6
Over 228.5 Points -110
Under 228.5 Points -110
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Mark Daigneault didn’t play pro or college basketball; he was a student manager at UConn before starting a career as a coach. He paid his dues, first at the University of Florida and then in the G League, before replacing former mentor Billy Donovan with the Thunder. He brought some energy with him; in his third season, he elevated the team’s win total from 24 to 40.
This team, which once put Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden on the floor simultaneously, is now the second-youngest in the NBA. They have become accustomed to using Gilgeous-Alexander as the first offensive option. SGA, as we’ll call him, is a native of Canada who spent one season at Kentucky and ultimately was traded by the Clippers with a slew of other assets to OKC in exchange for Paul George.
Speaking of assets, that has been what Oklahoma City has been accumulating. Over the next five drafts, they have a total of fifteen first-round picks. So they are building quite a foundation for moving ahead. On top of that, they can look forward next season to having 7-2 center Chet Holmgren, the versatile guy out of Gonzaga, who they took second and lost to an injury during the NBA Summer League.
These guys play hard for Daigneault at both ends of the floor. One shortcoming is that SGA forces up too many shots, but he led the league in made free throws this season and hit over 90% from the line. They may not advance, but they can keep this one very tight, so we are taking the points.
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