Regular Season Game 68
Timberwolves (39-29) at Wizards (38-29)
March 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.
TV: NBATV, NBCSW
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: WSH -4.0
(Photo: Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images)
What to Watch:
Have Lessons Been Learned?
Although the 2017-18 NBA regular season does not officially end for another month, every game from here on out can be considered to be a playoff game or one very close to being a “must win” for both the Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Wizards are currently sitting as the 5th seed in the East, but could finish as high as the 3rd seed or as low as the 8th seed depending on how they finish their last 15 games. This is assuming they don’t have a catastrophic breakdown as they currently are 7.5 games ahead of the 9th place Detroit Pistons.
As for the Timberwolves, they are coming off a big victory at home against the defending world champions, Golden State Warriors, and are currently sitting as the 5th seed out West with their overall record of 39-29. Unlike the Wizards whose remaining games will most likely determine their playoff seed. The Timberwolves last 14 games will determine if they break their 14-year playoff drought as they only lead the 10th seeded Denver Nuggets by 1.5 games. A few back-to-back losses could easily push them into the lottery. The more desperate team out of the two will come out with the victory Tuesday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Wizards Front Court
Towns was a key contributor in Sunday’s win against the Warriors, going for 31 points and 16 rebounds. The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft displayed his ability to be an offensive threat from all areas of the floor as he dominated the paint, mid-range, and even made two of his five three-point attempts.
The Wizards will have to do their best to keep the 7-foot, 248-pound 22-year old from having another big performance Tuesday night. In order to do that the Wizards big men are going to need to work together and provide enough of a defensive presence to disrupt Towns’ offensive rhythm. In the last meeting, Towns had 20 points and 17 boards in 40 minutes.
The Wizards are coming off a 27-point loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night in a game where they gave up a total of 129 points, including 76 in the paint. Coach Scott Brooks said after the game, “we didn’t give any resistance, they were just putting their heads down and attacking us, and we had no protection at the rim”. The Wizards are going to need to come out aggressive and physical on the defensive side of the floor, especially with the opponent they have the task of stopping down in the paint with Karl-Anthony Towns.
Next Man Up
Both teams are playing without their All-Stars, John Wall and Jimmy Butler, both of whom are currently recovering from knee surgeries. Although both players will be greatly missed, it will be interesting to see which player on the court takes advantage of the opportunity shine. On the bright side, Wall is nearing his return as he played 5 on 0 before Monday’s practice.
(Photo: Bob Donnan via USA Today Sports)
This game will go down to the wire. Look for both teams to play hard throughout all 48 minutes with the Wizards finding a way to cling on to a big victory at home to complete the season sweep of the Timberwolves.