Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#515 Minnesota Timberwolves 220 vs.
#516 Oklahoma City Thunder -4
Friday, December 6, 2019 at 8:05pm EST
Chesapeake Enery Arena, Oklahoma City
Written by Chris Kubala

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#515 Minnesota
#516 Oklahoma City
10-10
8-12
40-42
44-43
44-38
41-44-2
112
113
113
111

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It’s a clash of Northwest Division teams on the parquet floor in the Sooner State. The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the road as they make the trip to face the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night. Minnesota was dropped 121-114 on the road by the Mavericks Wednesday night. Oklahoma City was clipped 107-100 at home by Indiana in their last contest Wednesday night. The Thunder leads the all-time regular season series between the teams. Last season, Minnesota won three of the four matchups but it was Oklahoma City claiming a 132-126 road win in the most recent matchup on April 7, 2019.

Minnesota Timberwolves Look to Gain Ground in Northwest Division

Minnesota dropped their second straight and their sixth in the last nine games as they were clipped by the Mavericks Wednesday night. The Timberwolves enter this one third in the Northwest Division race, 4.5 games behind the Nuggets for the division lead. In the playoff picture in the Western Conference, Minnesota is seventh, two games ahead of the ninth-place trio of Portland, Oklahoma City and Sacramento. The Timberwolves trailed by five after the opening quarter, rallied to lead by three at the half and were up four after three quarters. Minnesota ran out of steam in the fourth quarter as they were outscored 41-30 to end up with the loss. The Timberwolves shot 41.6 percent from the field, including 17 of 38 from three-point range, but allowed Dallas to shoot 50 percent from the floor. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns (nine rebounds, seven assists) each had 26 points in the loss for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves enter this one-seventh in the league in scoring offense as they average 113.7 points per game this season. Minnesota is third in the league in rebounding as they collect 48.3 boards per contest and 18th as they dish out 23.7 assists per game. The Timberwolves are 23rd in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114.8 points per contest. Karl-Anthony Towns is leading the team with 25.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Andrew Wiggins contributes 24.9 points a night, Jeff Teague puts up 11.8 points plus 7.4 assists a night while Robert Covington (12.6 points), Jake Layman (10.5 points) and Josh Okogie (8.4 points) are solid scoring options as well. Minnesota is 25th in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.7 percent from the floor this season. The Timberwolves are tied for 7th by knocking down 13 threes per game while the team is tied for 27th by shooting only 33 percent from beyond the arc as a team this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder Trying to Gain Ground in Playoff Picture

Oklahoma City had won two straight and three of four before losing at home to Indiana Wednesday night. The Thunder comes into this contest tied for the basement in the Northwest Division, 6.5 games behind the Nuggets. Oklahoma City led by three after one quarter and trailed by one after three quarters in a tight game. The Thunder held a one-point lead with under three minutes to play but were outscored 12-4 down the stretch to take the loss. Oklahoma City shot 48.8 percent from the field, including nine of 26 from beyond the arc, in the loss. Free throws proved critical in the game as the Thunder was nine of 10 while the Pacers connected on 14 of 17. Steven Adams finished with 20 points and nine rebounds to lead Oklahoma City.

The Thunder enters this one 21st in the league in scoring offense as they average 107.1 points per game. Oklahoma City is 25th in rebounding with 42.4 boards a night while ranking 25th in assists by dishing out 22.1 per game. The Thunder stands 12th in the league in scoring defense by allowing 108.3 points per contest. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is second on Oklahoma City with 18.1 points plus five rebounds per game on the season. Danilo Gallinari contributes a team-leading 18.5 points plus 5.6 rebounds per game while Chris Paul chips in 15.1 points plus six assists a night. The Thunder needs more from Steven Adams (10.4 points, nine rebounds) and Dennis Schroder (15.6 points, four rebounds, 3.8 assists) in order to get their offense going. Oklahoma City is tied for 9th in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 46.2 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Thunder is tied for 22nd in threes made per game as they drain 10.7 per contest while ranking 16th by hitting 35.4 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

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Oklahoma City has shown some signs of life after their miserable start though they are coming in off a loss at home to the Pacers. The Thunder simply hasn’t been the same offensively this season, which makes sense now that Russell Westbrook is in Houston. Paul is a great point guard but he’s more of a distributor as opposed to a do-everything all the time guy like Westbrook. Minnesota is still riding the Towns/Wiggins duo hard to try and maintain relevance in the Northwest Division. Those two are playing well and the Timberwolves are getting healthier. It’s tough to have faith in the Thunder right now: take KAT to have a big game and bail out Minnesota with a win.

Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves +2.5

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Minnesota has strangely been a more efficient unit as the visiting team this season as opposed to playing at the Target Center. The Timberwolves put up an average of 117.9 ppg on the road compared to a 109.5 ppg mark at home on the year. Defensively, Minnesota allows 113.9 ppg on the road compared to their 115.6 ppg mark at the Target Center this year. Those numbers help explain why the team is 3-7 at home but 7-3 on the road this season. Oklahoma City has put up 110.6 ppg at home this season while allowing 107.1 ppg en route to a 6-5 mark. Can the Thunder do the job at home here and pick up a win?

The over is 4-1 in the Timberwolves' last 5 Friday games, 5-2 in their last seven on the road and 7-3 in their last 10 after a straight up loss. Oklahoma City has seen the over go 4-1 in their last five after an ATS loss and 5-2-1 in their last eight on Friday. The teams have gone over the mark in each of the last four meetings overall and in each of the last five in Oklahoma City. Look for this one to follow suit behind big games from Wiggins and Towns.

Prediction: Over 221

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Both teams have positive scoring differentials in the first half this season. The Timberwolves stand 17th in that department with a +0.3 ppg margin in their contests this season. What is rather surprising is that the Thunder owns a +2.3 ppg mark in the first half this season, which is good for tied for 10th in the league. It shows us that teams get the better of the Thunder in the second half of games. With that said, it's tough to have a ton of faith in a team without a proven go-to scorer. Sure, Paul is a great point guard but he's not a score first kind of guy. Give Minnesota the edge at the half because they know where to know when they need a bucket.

Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves +1

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Minnesota has been terrific offensively in the first half, ranking fifth in the league with 57.9 ppg in the first half this season. The Timberwolves do struggle defensively, ranking 25th by allowing 57.6 ppg in the opening half. That puts a normal first half with Minnesota around 115.5 ppg this season. Oklahoma City is tied for 16th by scoring 54.9 ppg in the first half this season. The Thunder is 8th in first half scoring defense by allowing 52.6 ppg. Those numbers put a normal opening half for the Thunder around 107.5 ppg. Splitting the difference between the two leaves us a couple points shy of this mark at halftime and that seems to be a safe way to go here.

Prediction: Under 113
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.