The New Year rolls in with a great slate of NBA action on Friday night. Ten games are up on the board throughout January 1. One of these games will be between the Washington Wizards and the Minnesota Timberwolves. These two teams have not had ideal starts to the season, but will look for a win in this one. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Wizards have earned a record of 0-5 to open up the new season, which has them in last place of the Eastern Conference. Washington made some solid moves in the offseason, but it has not translated into wins yet this season. The Wizards are still looking to earn that first victory after losing last night. I expect Washington to come out fast in this one as they look for the win.
Minnesota has posted a record of 2-2 so far this season, which has them tied for seventh place in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves are looking to come out strong this season after a great offseason. Minnesota has looked much better at the start of this season, but are still looking to move up the standings. I expect the Timberwolves to try and come out fast in this one.
These two teams have not had great starts to the new season, but there is still plenty of time to improve. The Wizards have struggled mightily out of the gate and will look to finally turn it around with a win in this one. Washington is coming off a loss last night and will need to come out fast to avoid a hangover from that one. If the Wizards come out sluggish though, Minnesota will have a chance to take over.
Washington and Minnesota met up twice throughout last season. The first game was hosted by the Wizards on November 2. Bradley Beal dropped 30 points, while Isaiah Thomas scored 16 off the bench. It was not enough though. Andrew Wiggins finished with 21 points, while Robert Covington and Jarrett Culver each had 20. The Timberwolves were able to earn a big 131-109 win on the night.
The second meeting of the season series shifted to Minnesota on November 15. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 36 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough. Bradley Beal finished with 44 points and 10 assists on the night. Moritz Wagner scored 30 points off the bench to help propel the Wizards to the win. Washington finished with a 137-116 win on the road.
These two teams split the season series last season, each winning on the road. The Wizards are coming into this one after a tight loss to the Chicago Bulls on December 31. Minnesota has lost back to back games to both Los Angeles teams coming into this one and will look to get back in the win column after a 2-0 start. If either team can gain momentum early, it should give them the edge.
Bradley Beal has continued to be the best player on this Washington team. Beal is averaging 31 points per game through his five starts. Russell Westbrook has averaged 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12.5 assists per game in his starts with the Wizards. Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura are both averaging 17 points per game. Raul Neto is averaging 10.5 points, while Davis Bertans has averaged 10 points per game this season.
Karl-Anthony Towns has continued to lead this Minnesota team to open up this season. Towns has averaged 19 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. D’Angelo Russell is averaging 17.5 points per game, while Malik Beasley has averaged 17 points per game. Anthony Edwards helps round out the lineup, averaging 15 points per game in his rookie season.
These two teams are led by their stars, but it has been Washington’s stars that have been off to the faster start this season. Towns and Russell have done a solid job for the Timberwolves, but will need to improve upon those numbers if Minnesota wants to sneak into a Western Conference playoff spot. The Wizards will need their defense to do a better job if they want to get in the win column.
Field Goal Shooting
The Wizards have been a solid team shooting throughout this season. Washington has made around 47.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is 10th in the NBA. The Wizards have also made 35.8 percent of their shots from deep, which is 16th in the league. Washington will need to do a better job on defense though if they want to win this one.
Minnesota has struggled heavily when it comes to shooting this season. The Timberwolves have made around 41.5 percent of their shots from the field this season, which is 28th in the league. Minnesota has the worst three point percentage early in the season, making only 30.1 percent of their shots from behind the arc. The Timberwolves will need to find some consistency early in this one.
Washington is the better shooting team throughout this season. The Wizards defense has not been great though and will need to improve after giving up 133 points to the Bulls last night. The Timberwolves have not been great from the field this season and it could give Washington’s defense a chance to get into a groove.
The Wizards are still looking for their first win on the season and I think they have a good chance in this one. Washington lost a tough one to the Chicago Bulls last night and I think that they will come out quick in this one. The Timberwolves have been struggling to shoot the ball well this season and if the Wizards can play tight defense, it will give them a big edge in this one.
BetOnline has Minnesota listed as a -1 against the spread in this one. This gives a slight edge to the Timberwolves at home. I think that Washington is due for a win and this seems like a great matchup for them. The Wizards offense has been strong to open up this season and if they can continue that trend on Friday, they should be able to knock off the Timberwolves.