The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the desert on Thursday and Friday night for a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns. Following this Thursday night matchup, the Timberwolves and Suns will do it all over again tomorrow. For the Timberwolves, they hope to use what the Suns have been able to do as a blueprint for their future.
The Suns were down and out not for years before finally putting a competitive team together. They knew it was necessary to help Devin Booker out, and that’s what the front office did by addressing a paper thin defense. Booker’s efforts were going to waste in the past. However, the Suns are looking like one of the best teams in the West this season.
The Suns head into Thursday evening with a record of 26-12 and second in the Western Conference. They trail the Utah Jazz by 2.5 games, and continue to gain ground on the Jazz, who have had a breakout season as well. The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers aren’t going to go away quietly, but the Jazz and Suns must get respect.
Donovan Mitchell and Booker are the most underrated players in the NBA in the 2020-21 campaign. We knew well before this season that Booker was a good player. However, his exposure wasn’t that high to the public because of the bad team he was playing on. The Suns can’t be ignored at this season, and shouldn’t be taken by anybody in the playoffs.
They are coming off a textbook 122-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. It was a nice response from the Suns after they were 122-111 losers against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. They are winners in six of their previous seven outings, so it was only a small blemish over the last few weeks for the Suns. The Suns welcome a Timberwolves team that are still looking for their tenth win this season.
There have been small wins along the way to celebrate, like a recent 135-105 win against the New Orleans Pelicans, and a 114-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers two games ago on March 14. The Timberwolves are fresh off a 137-121 loss against the Lakers at the Staples Center on Tuesday evening. The Lakers, who have been sluggish at times offensively this season, pounded the resistanceless Timberwolves’ defense. Head below for our free Timberwolves vs. Suns pick on March 18, 2021.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns NBA Betting Odds:
Timberwolves vs. Suns Prediction:
The Timberwolves have to up the defensive intensity or they are going to continue to get shredded defensively. The Lakers could have scored more if they wanted to in that contest against the Timberwolves, but they held back some in the fourth. It was easy business for the Lakers against one of the worst defensive units in the NBA. Minnesota has been getting hammered for 117.3 points per game for 28th in the NBA. Teams are shooting at a high clip against the Timberwolves, with a field goal percentage of 47.9%.
For a team with an imposing figure like Karl-Anthony Towns on the roster, you would think a little more on defense. Towns hasn’t had a lot to contribute defensively, though. He needs to look at himself in the mirror and put in a lot more effort as a defender in the paint. The opposition is finding it much too easy to score on the Timberwolves around the rim. After getting belted by the Lakers, they face a tough assignment against the Suns team that can pile up the points quickly.
The Suns are second in the league with a field goal percentage of 48.9%. It has led to an average of 114.1 points per contest. They can shoot the three ball, converting at a 38.3% clip, and can hit their freebies at the line as well. As a team, the Suns own a free throw percentage of 83.4% for seventh in the league. In the Suns’ last five outings, they’re shooting a staggering 52.6% from the field with 118.8 points per game. Through that same stretch, the Timberwolves conceded 122.8 points per game.
They miss D’Angelo Russell, but at least the offense has been playing better basketball as of late. The Timberwolves have scored at least 121 points in three of their previous four outings, and while the Suns should be able to prevent them from going wild, expect the Timberwolves to fire away in a game where their defense is likely going to be useless again. In their last five, Minnesota has scored 118.6 points per contest. 10.5 points looks like a little too much for me to lay in a potential backdoor situation, but the OVER should cash regardless.