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A pair of Western Conference teams take the floor in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Los Angeles Lakers are on the road as they make the trip to face the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles dropped a 119-112 home decision to the Knicks Friday night in their last contest. Minnesota comes in off a 120-103 home win over the Magic Friday night in their last contest. The Lakers own a 78-34 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams but Minnesota has won five of the last six matchups. The teams split two meetings this season with Los Angeles taking a 114-110 home win in the last matchup on November 7, 2018.
Los Angeles Lakers Hoping to Reverse Recent Slump
Los Angeles lost their second straight and fourth in the last five games as they were beaten at home by the Knicks. The Lakers are struggling without LeBron James: they entered Saturday holding the final playoff spot in the Western Conference by 1.5 games over the Kings. Los Angeles was down 14 after the opening quarter as they were flat. The Lakers rallied to cut the deficit to four at the half and took a six point edge after three quarters only to run out of steam. Los Angeles was outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter to end up with the loss. The Lakers shot 43.9 percent from the field, including 11 of 37 from three point range, and lost the game at the free throw line. Los Angeles was 15 of 20 at the stripe while the Knicks were 34 of 41. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with 21 points and nine boards in the loss. The Lakers are 8-9 ATS at home this season while the under is 12-4-1 in those contests.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 5, 2019
The Lakers are 7th in the league in scoring offense as they put up 113 points per game. Los Angeles is 8th in rebounding with 46.8 boards per contest and 15th in assists with 24.5 per game. The Lakers stand 19th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 111.5 points per night. LeBron James leads Los Angeles with 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists per contest. Kyle Kuzma kicks in 18.3 points per game while Brandon Ingram chips in 16.2 points a night. JaVale McGee (12 points, 6.9 boards, 2.5 blocks), Josh Hart and Rajon Rondo (8.4 points, 6.7 assists) are all solid contributors as well. Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tyson Chandler, Michael Beasley and Sviatoslav Mykhailuk are key pieces in the rotation for coach Luke Walton. The Lakers are 6th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.6 percent as a team. Los Angeles is tied for 16th in the league with 10.8 triples per game while standing tied for 21st in three point shooting at 34.5 percent from downtown. James is out with a groin injury while Rondo is out after ring finger surgery. Kuzma missed Friday’s game with a back contusion but traveled with the team and is questionable here.
Minnesota Timberwolves Trying to Gain Ground in Playoff Picture
Minnesota picked up a win to snap a two-game skid as they took down Orlando at home Friday night. The Timberwolves entered Saturday 13th in the Western Conference standings but were three games behind the Lakers for the final playoff spot. Minnesota trailed by nine after the opening quarter and by four at the half. The Timberwolves took control in the third quarter with a 31-17 edge and then put it away with a 25-18 fourth-quarter advantage. Minnesota shot 51.6 percent from the field, including nine of 26 from three point range, and dominated the glass 54-35. Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 29 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Minnesota is 12-7 ATS at home this season and the over is 11-8 in those contests.
.@KarlTowns' last 5 games:
31 pts. / 19 reb. / 5 ast. / 3 blk. / 1 stl. vs. ATL
34 / 18 / 7 / 6 / 3 at MIA
28 / 17 / 6 / 5 / 0 at NOP
28 / 12 / 7 / 1 / 0 at BOS
29 / 15 / 2 / 1 / 1 vs. ORL
GET THIS MAN TO THE ALL-STAR GAME.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 5, 2019
The Timberwolves come into this game 14th in scoring with 111.5 points a game. Minnesota is tied for 19th in rebounding with 44.3 boards a night and 14th in assists by dishing out 24.6 dimes per contest. The Timberwolves are 18th in scoring defense as they allow 111.4 points per game. Karl-Anthony Towns puts up a team-leading 22.1 points plus 12.2 rebounds per game, Jeff Teague adds 12.1 points along with 8.4 assists per contest and Andrew Wiggins chips in 17 points per night. Derrick Rose (18.9 points, 4.8 assists) and Taj Gibson (10.6 points, 6.7 boards) are off to strong starts for Minnesota. Robert Covington (13.3 points, 5.5 boards), Gorgui Dieng, Dario Saric (10.7 points, 5.9 rebounds), Josh Okogie, Tyus Jones and Anthony Tolliver are going to be looked to for crucial minutes for coach Tom Thibodeau. The Timberwolves are 22nd in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 45.2 percent from the floor. Minnesota is tied for 21st in the league in threes with 10.1 per game and is 10th in the league in three point shooting as they’ve hit 35.7 percent of their attempts from downtown. Covington is out for an extended period with a bone bruise in his ankle while Rose is questionable after missing time with an ankle sprain.
- Timberwolves are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 home games
- Lakers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 Sunday games
- Lakers are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Lakers have stumbled without James and with him expected to miss another few games before getting reevaluated later this week, it’s going to be tough sledding for them. Los Angeles has shown that the rest of the team has growing to do if they want to have success without their superstar. Minnesota picked up a win over Orlando and they play tough at home. With the Lakers beat up and sputtering, the Timberwolves get the upper hand in this contest to gain ground in the playoff picture.
Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves
Full-Game Total Pick
Los Angeles is dealing with a series of injuries that are once again taking a toll on their team. James is still out with a groin injury, Rondo is recovering after finger surgery and Kuzma is a question mark. The Lakers’ defense has taken a hit without James as they have allowed at least 114 points in four of their last five games. Minnesota is trying to make up some ground in the Western Conference playoff picture and that means taking advantage of situations like this. Can the Timberwolves pick up the home win here?
The over is 8-2 in the Lakers’ last 10 vs. a team with a losing straight up record and 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Minnesota has seen the over go 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up win, 6-0 in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, 5-0 in their last 5 home games and 4-0 in their last four against Western Conference foes. The teams have gone over the total in five of their last six meetings in Minnesota: with the Lakers’ recent defensive problems, this one likely ends up over the total.
Half-Time Side Pick
Minnesota has the advantage as far as health goes, even though they are missing Covington for this one. Losing one guy is better than being minus James and Rondo like the Lakers are coming into this one. Los Angeles has dropped four of five since James injured his groin on Christmas night. The Timberwolves have played well at home and they’ve had success against Los Angeles lately. Minnesota has the upper hand at the half in this one.
Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves
Half-Time Total Bet
The Lakers have been leaky defensively since James went down as they’ve allowed 117, 118, 114, 107 and 119 points in that span. It’s going to be a challenge for Los Angeles to try and slow the Minnesota attack on the offensive end. McGee is going to have a challenge trying to contain Towns offensively. The Timberwolves are playing well on the offensive end of late and that works in their favor. With the Lakers playing run and gun right now, this one ends up over the number at the half.