Sacramento welcomes in the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight as the two teams will meet for the second game of a rare back-to-back meeting. The Kings and Wolves played each other last night and will now meet for the final time this season today. Earlier in the year, the two teams squared off with the Wolves taking the game by a score of 107-97 in Minnesota. In last nights meeting, the Wolves took the game 134-114 and will look to sweep the regular season series with Sacramento tonight. The scene stays in Sacramento and the Golden One Center, with tip-off scheduled for 10pm EST. The Wolves come into this game having won seven of their last ten and five straight overall. They hold a record of 29-25, good for seventh in the Western Conference standings and are 13-15 away from the Twin Cities. As for the Kings, they have lost eight of ten heading into this game but did beat the Oklahoma City Thunder a few games ago. They have an overall record of 20-36 and sit in the thirteenth spot in the Western Conference. They are 14-17 in the comfort of the Golden One Center and will look to improve that record at home. These teams both have good young players which could make this a fun game to watch.
How Minnesota can win: Minnesota is 20-17 in conference matchups this season and currently would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They are sixth in the Western Conference in assists, averaging 24.8 per game. Point guard D’Angelo Russell leads the team averaging seven assists per game while adding in 18.8 points per game as well. His ability to pass the ball effectively while also being a good three-point shooter has unlocked this Timberwolves offense. Next to him is Anthony Edwards, the exciting young player that the Wolves hope can turn into a star. He is averaging 21.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season so he very well may be on his way to stardom. He and Russell have helped the Wolves improve this season and make for a strong offensive team every time on the floor.
Rounding out the main core for the Wolves is star center Karl-Anthony Towns, who is special both on the offensive and defense side of the ball. Towns is averaging 24.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while also averaging 1.4 blocks a game. Towns is the focal point for the Wolves and is the engine that gets this team going. He has formed a nice nucleus with Edwards and Russell and that should help get the Wolves back into the playoffs. If Towns can get easy shots early and start a rhythm, it could be a long night for the Kings.
How Sacramento can win: Before the game yesterday, the Kings made a huge trade with the Indiana Pacers acquiring forward Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb while sending out Buddy Hield, Tyrese Hailburton, and Tristan Thompson. The new players won’t be available for this game so that leaves the Kings with some depth issues. Guard De’Aaron Fox is questionable for the game so if he can’t go, the Kings will likely need to rely on others to step up in his absence. He has missed the last eight games due to injury so the team may choose to wait until after the All-Star break to bring their guard back. Forward Harrison Barnes has stepped up recently, averaging 18.8 points a game over the last ten games for the Kings and they’ll need his scoring production again.
On defense, the Kings must key in on Karl-Anthony Towns and know where he is on the court at all times. Towns has really improved his game this season and has made life miserable for opposing defenses all year. If they can throw double teams at him when in the painted area, it could force other members of the Wolves to beat them. If you are Sacramento, you are okay with others beating you if you can limit Towns as much as possible. The Kings defense will be a major reason whether or not they win this game.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: MIN: (-450) | SAC: (+350)
Spread: MIN: -9.5 (-110) | SAC: +9.5 (-110)
Final Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves 112 Sacramento Kings 98
-In last nights game, the Wolves dominated the Kings and I see no difference coming into the second straight matchup. Minnesota is the better team and can roll out more All-Star calibar players in this game. The Kings traded away some of their better players and won’t see the new players just yet so I’m rolling with Minnesota to grab a second straight win over the Kings here.