2021-02-24
Minnesota Timberwolves
Milwaukee Bucks
League : NBA

Milwaukee Bucks vs Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction & Preview



 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves will look to snap a four-game losing streak when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum. Minnesota currently has the worst record in the NBA at 7-24 after losing 103-99 to the New York Knicks on Sunday as a three-point road underdog. Milwaukee has picked things up with three straight wins to improve to 18-13, including a 128-115 home win over the Sacramento Kings as a 10-point favorite on Sunday.

This is a tight series historically with Minnesota leading 31-29 all-time, but the Bucks have won four meetings in a row

 

Timberwolves rally falls short, Saunders fired

Minnesota is in the midst of a miserable season marred by injuries and suffered another loss after falling way behind at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. After falling behind 30-18 in the first and trailing by as much as 21 in the second half, Minnesota fought back to take a lead in the final minutes, but Julius Randle hit the go-ahead free throws with 32 seconds left as Karl-Anthony Towns couldn't respond.

 

Towns piled up 27 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves, while Ricky Rubio had 18 points and six assists. Minnesota was a strong 16/35 from three-point range, but New York had a 31-17 scoring advantage at the free throw line.

Head coach Ryan Saunders was dismissed following the game after going 43-94 in three seasons. Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch will take over head coaching duties.

“I think we can breathe some confidence back into the roster,” Finch said to the Associated Press, “and these guys can maybe find some joy.”

Minnesota has been better against the spread at 14-16-1, although it has failed to cover in each of its last four games during the current losing streak. Overs are 14-17 for the Timberwolves, with four of their last five games going under the betting total.

Towns, who recently returned from a long COVID absence, leads the Timberwolves with an average of 22 points and 11.5 rebounds on 52.5 percent shooting across 11 games. Malik Beasley has added 20.2 points per game, with D'Angelo Russell not far behind at 19.3 points and 5.1 assists per contest.

Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, they've barely had any time with the full lineup together this season, as Russell will be out another four to six weeks after undergoing knee surgery. Guard Jarrett Culver will be out on Tuesday due to a sprained ankle. 

Bucks take care of Sacramento

After suffering a five-game losing streak earlier in the month, the Bucks are starting to build momentum back with two straight easy wins, including a victory over Sacramento on Sunday. The Bucks were in command throughout and really poured it on with a 42-point second quarter, as the closest Sacramento would get in the second half was within 12.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 38 points and 18 rebounds, while Khris Middleton stuffed the stat sheet with 32 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. The Bucks shot 48.9 percent from the field with 14 offensive rebounds and outscored Sacramento 29-15 at the free throw line.

“I thought individually they were good, and they had good moments together,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said to the Associated Press. “I thought our defense set the table and we were able to get out and both of them were able to be in attack mode."

The Bucks are below .500 against the spread at 15-16, but have covered in their last two games against Sacramento and the Oklahoma City Thunder after losing five straight as a favorite. Overs are 18-12-1 for Milwaukee after the Sacramento game snapped a streak of two straight unders.

Milwaukee has been one of the NBA's top offenses at 119.2 points per game to rank second in the league on 55.1 percent shooting from two and 39.3 percent shooting from three, both top-five marks. The Bucks defense has been closer to mid-pack at 112.1 points per game allowed on opponent shooting splits of 50.5 percent from two and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Antetokounmpo's numbers are roughly in line with his two MVP campaigns at 28.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game to lead the Bucks in all three categories. Middleton is averaging 20.5 points and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 43.1 percent from three-point range.

Star guard Jrue Holiday has now missed eight games in COVID protocol, and while he was at least on the bench for Sunday's game, he remains listed as out for Tuesday. Jaylen Adams is also still in the health and safety protocols, while Jordan Nwora is questionable with a sprained ankle.






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