The Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves continue their preseason trip to China with a game in Shanghai this morning (7am ET Sunday on NBATV). Minnesota defeated Golden State in the first game 111-97 on Thursday in Shenzhen.
The defending NBA champion Warriors are 0-2 in the preseason so far and don’t seem to particularly care about it. The Wolves, meanwhile, have been playing a tighter rotation and have won both of their exhibition contests thus far.
Will both of these preseason trends continue? Or will the dominant Warriors make a return to smash the upstart Warriors? Let’s discuss some important storylines that will determine the game’s outcome, then make some betting predictions and picks.
Will the Warriors Continue to Play A Deep Rotation?
The last game between the Wolves and Warriors showed these two different teams’ approaches to the preseason. The Wolves are intent on building chemistry between players who will actually play in their regular season rotation, and the Warriors are just playing everybody to spread out the court time.
Case in point: Minnesota only gave playing time to 10 guys in China, with each of them earning at least 20 minutes of court time. However, the Warriors put 17 different players on the floor, letting the deep reserves play much of the second half. It was definitely a factor in the Wolves outscoring the Warriors 32-14 in the fourth quarter.
Will both teams take a similar approach to today’s game? If so, Minnesota will again have a great chance at beating Golden State away from home.
Can the Timberwolves Hit Their Threes Again?
The Timberwolves are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league, if not the worst. No one in the team’s rotation stands out as a true sniper, and most of those same guys are players you can mostly let shoot from outside.
However, they managed to make 12 of their 26 long-distance attempts on Thursday, while the Warriors were just 10-of-31.
Shooting, on a single-game basis, often comes down to luck. If both teams regress to the mean, Golden State will have a massive edge from behind the arc. If not, Minnesota could be the favorite again, because Golden State is much easier to defend when its shots from downtown aren’t fouling.
Can Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins Start to Show Some improvement on Defense?
The Timberwolves have a great young duo in Karl-Anthony Towns (21 years old) and Andrew Wiggins (22 years old). However, that youth has shown on the defensive end early on in both guys’ careers.
Golden State has some of the most elaborate offensive sets in the NBA, which can be confusing to players who lack good defensive fundamentals.
It’s just one game, and we’ll probably still see some bad defensive habits. But how Towns and Wiggins perform against the Warriors defensively will go a long way in preventing the Dubs’ offensive plays from working. It would also be an encouraging development for the prospect of them improving in the second year under head coach (and defensive mastermind) Tom Thibodeau.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Picks & Predictions
The Warriors, much like their first China game, will probably not try very hard in this game today. Their main core of players has already established chemistry together, and the preseason is about seeing which players deserve end-of-the-bench roster spots.
Minnesota, on the other hand, wants to continue integrating new starters Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. The preseason has more of a purpose.
- Most top U.S. online betting sites do not have odds listed for preseason games, but the excellent 5Dimes has the Warriors favored by five points in this game. Purely because of how bad these teams want to win, bet on the Wolves to cover the spread @ -110.
- 5Dimes also posts the over-under for this game, which is 216.5 total points. Despite the fact that both of these teams have explosive offenses, preseason games rarely go this high. Because both teams are usually still working out their offensive chemistry and have raw offensive prospects getting playing time, defense often rules the day. Just eight of the 33 preseason games thus far have hit 216.5. Bet the under 216.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes.