Miami Heat comes to the Target Center in Minnesota to face the second game of a back-to-back. Spoelstra's team has an 11-6 record and averages 109.8 points per game for eighth-best in the NBA, plus they are averaging 46.4 % from the field for sixth-best in the league. Defense is this team's strong suit, allowing 102.4 points per game for third in the NBA and 43.3% from the field for seventh in the league.
Minnesota Wolves comes into this game after stringing together four straight wins, all by double digits. They average 42.5% from the field and 33.5% in three-pointers; the great strength of this team is their defense. Coach Chris Finch has emphasized the defense that allows 43.1% from the field to be the fourth-best in the NBA and 29.7% in three-pointers to be the best perimeter defense in the league. On offense, they are coming off averaging 40% from the field and 24% in three-pointers against New Orleans and still beat the Pelicans with a 14-point lead.
Is Miami a genuine title contender?Larry Brown, as general manager, has put together some wonderful teams in Miami, first Wade and Shaq, then the Big Three with LeBron, and now this team is not far from the others even if it does not have such bombastic names. Having been able to sign P.J. Tucker and Kyle Lowry gives us an idea of what they are after, and that is nothing more than forming a solid defensive unit. They also signed veteran Markieff Morris, who knows what it means to be a champion, having done it with the Lakers during the Orlando bubble.
But the leaders of this team are still Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro. Butler is having one of the best offensive seasons of his career, averaging over 25 points per game on 53.8 % from the field. Adebayo is also averaging a career-high 19.4 points per game in addition to his usual ten rebounds per game. Best of all is Tyler Herro averaging 21.6 points off the bench with an impressive 39.5 % in three-pointers. He is a player that closes games with the starters, so his role keeping distances reminds us a little bit of the one Manu Ginobili had in San Antonio.
Can Minnesota continue the winning streak?As we mentioned at the beginning, these Wolves have won 4 games in a row, all by more than 10 points. Their natural leaders are Dominican Karl Anthony Towns, second-year player Vince Edward, and PG D'Angelo Russell, they three should carry the team's offense and also be pillars in defense. The last time this team did not have a negative record was precisely the year Jimmy Butler was with them.
Karl Towns is standing out with 23.4 points per game with an efficient game as he is averaging 50.5 % from the field and 45.4 % in three-pointers. He, in rebounds he is averaging less than 10, but he has been dedicated to making more box-outs. Anthony Edwards has dramatically improved his numbers from his rookie season, averaging 22.2 points per game, 43% from the field, and 35.6% on three pointers, adding 6.2 rebounds per game and 3.2 assists. Russell is averaging 18.3 points per game, although his field goal % is a bit low at 38%. Patrick Beverly, Jarrett Vanderbilt, and Jaden McDaniels make up the rest of Coach Finch’s rotation usually used.
- Timberwolves are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Timberwolves are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.