Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) handles the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

TIMBERWOLVES VS WARRIORS, JAN. 27

Mike Shara

Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors
Chase Center, San Francisco, CA, 10 pm ET
National Broadcaster: TNT

SPREAD: Golden State -6 (PointsBet)
MONEYLINE: Minnesota +230 (FanDuel)
OVER/UNDER: 229.5 (BetMGM)

For a young team that is currently just one game over .500, Minnesota basketball fans can’t help but feel at least somewhat cautiously excited. Their (somewhat) beloved hometown team has made the playoffs just once in the last 16 seasons. They have also only finished over .500 once in that time. Yes, you read those statements correctly. The list of high draft picks and potential saviors since Kevin Garnett left Minnesota has been long and…disappointing. Kris Dunn, Josh Okogie, Derrick Williams, Jonny Flynn. Yech. Just yech. Now, with the young trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards (40 points vs. Portland on Tuesday night) beginning to revive hope in the frigid North, they arrive in the Bay Area feeling plucky and confident, eager to test themselves against the NBA’s best home team.

TIMBERWOLVES
This season has been up-and-down, as the Wolves’ 24-23 record would indicate. Like every other team these last two years, they have had roster issues to contend with, but they do appear to be steadying the ship, having won 8 of their last 11 since KAT returned from a stint on the Covid list – although a relatively soft recent schedule makes that record somewhat misleading. Second year Head Coach Chris Finch has them playing better defensively and with a quicker pace (they’re 4th quickest in the league right now), and their young roster appears to have genuine chemistry. Only one player on this team’s entire roster is over 27 years old and that’s fiery guard Patrick Beverley, who is questionable tonight with an ankle injury. Otherwise, all the other key rotation players are good to go. Point guard D’Angelo Russell has finally settled into being an elite option in the NBA and his team’s record shows it – they have gone just 2-8 with him out of the lineup this season. Minnesota are 4-0 ATS in their last 5 but have gone just 14-17 against the number on the road this season and as stated earlier, the Chase Center may just be the toughest place for a visiting team to play right now.

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WARRIORS
Two or three weeks ago everything was hunky-dory in San Francisco (well, for their basketball team anyway – not so much if you’re someone trying to live in the Mission, the Tenderloin or South of the Market). They raced out to one of the NBA’s best records, Steph Curry was the MVP frontrunner and Klay Thompson was finally returning from knee injuries that had caused him to miss 2 and a half years. However, NBA reality can settle in pretty quickly (just ask the Wizards). Draymond Green (back) is in the midst of a lengthy injury absence, Steph’s shooting has cooled considerably and after losing 4 of their last 9, they’ve fallen behind Phoenix into second place in the Pacific Division. They are still the #2 seed in the West at this point, though and Tuesday night’s 38-point win vs. Dallas may have marked a turning point, even if Curry only shot 2-for-10 from three-point land. Since arriving back home on Friday they’ve won three in a row, allowing their opponents an average of under 96 points in that span. They remain the league’s highest-rated defensive team and younger players Jordan Poole, Nemanja Bjelica and Jonathan Kuminga have been contributing more scoring off the bench lately, leading to a more balanced attack. Surprisingly Golden State has only gone over in 13 of their last 30 home games, but that doesn’t seem to be affecting bettors – over 85% of the public betting money is currently going their way tonight.

THE MATCHUP
This game would appear to mean more to Minnesota than it does to Golden State. The Warriors have been a bully in the West for years now and if the upstart T-Wolves want to establish any credibility as a serious team, they have to start winning serious games. They hammered the Dubs by 20 points 11 days ago in Minnesota, so I’d look for the more veteran team to come out a little more determined and purposeful tonight. The Wolves will likely be missing Patrick Beverley tonight and his veteran bulldog presence would have been useful in this kind of game when things get hectic. It would seem Golden State is playing too well at home right now, are feeling confident again and may even have a little revenge in mind. It’s hard to see them letting this game get away from them. I still think the over/under is a little high, given how good these teams are defensively and the fact that Steph Curry still hasn’t found his shooting touch again (yet).

PREDICTION
Golden State 110, Minnesota 97

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