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Timberwolves at Magic
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amway Center
This matchup is going to be a tight game if history repeats itself. Minnesota and Orlando faced off twice last year and both games were settled by three points. One of them even went to overtime. Orlando is coming at the Wolves with a revamped, more mature team. They added some solid players during free agency which is why they are seeing success earlier than last year. Minnesota on the other hand is yet to live up to the hype they had coming into the year. I projected them to get the 7th seed in the west. It’s turning out to be a very bold statement that slips farther and farther away with every tick of the clock. The Wolves are looking to end their losing streak after getting outplayed by the Nets. Orlando is also looking to bounce back after getting embarrassed by Chicago.
PG: Kris Dunn #3
SG: Zach LaVine #8
SF: Andrew Wiggins #22
PF: Gorgui Dieng #5
C: Karl-Anthony Towns #32
PG: Elfrid Payton #4
SG: Evan Fournier #10
SF: Aaron Gordon #00
PF: Serge Ibaka #7
C: Nikola Vucevic #9
Nikola Pekovic – out/season (recurring foot pain)
Ricky Rubio – out (elbow)
Jodie Meeks – out (foot surgery)
The Wolves played the Magic twice last year. Both times they were defeated by 3 points. One of them came in overtime. They first played on November 18th at the Amway Center. Andrew Wiggins lead the team with 28 points. Evan Fournier countered with 26 points and an overtime buzzer beater to shock to Minnesota. Timberwolves lose 101-104.
The second time they played was on December 1st at the Target Center. The Wolves struggled early, but charged back late in the game. Wiggins must like playing against Orlando because he carried the team with 27 points. Nobody on the Magic had a lopsided amount of points. Six Magic players ended up in double digits for points. Orlando held off the late run of Minnesota to win 96-93.
Minnesota needs to play better after the half, plain and simple. They were neck and neck going into halftime with the Nets, and ended up getting dropped off in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Andrew Wiggins is coming off a hot night from the court. He dropped 36 points in 40 minutes. Talk about efficiency right?
Minnesota’s three-point game has been much improved since last year. Wiggins had 6 three-pointers against the Nets. I’m not a betting man, but I could’ve never predicted that to happen. Hopefully Minnesota’s guards can use their size and athleticism as an advantage against the Magic. The player I’m looking to have a breakout night for the Wolves is Andrew Wiggins. Whether they put Ibaka or Gordon on him, it will be a mismatch because of his size, speed, and athleticism.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng will have a tough time taking on the Magic front line. Vucevic, Gordon, Ibaka, and Biyombo are all tough guys who aren’t afraid to pick up the table scraps. My player to watch for the Magic is Mario Hezonja. Hezonja is going through a slump right now, but we have all seen what he is capable of. He is going to break out of it one of these days. Add in the typical Minnesota sports luck, he could drop some serious numbers off the bench.
TV: Fox Sports North – Dave Benz (play-by- play), Jim Peterson (analyst)
Radio: 830 WCCO-AM – Alan Horton (play-by- play)
(All stats found on NBA.com and basketball-reference.com)