Timberwolves and Lakers fighting for seventh seed
The Lakers are hosting the Timberwolves in tonight’s Play-In game. With a playoff berth at stake, will the Wolves be able to put their issues aside and work towards a common goal? They are going to have to if they want to beat LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers.
The Timberwolves will be down two key starters
Tensions were high in Minneaoplis during the Timberwolves’ victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Apr. 9. Jaden McDaniels was frustrated with his play in what was a high-stakes game, punching the wall late in the first quarter.
That wasn’t the last punch during the game
As a result of both players’ actions, neither McDaniels nor Rudy Gobert will be available for the matchup against the Lakers, and both are pivotal losses. Jaden McDaniels has developed a reputation as one of the best and most versatile defenders in the NBA.
Minnesota will also have to find a way to fill the void of a three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Gobert has also averaged 11.6 rebounds per game this season and having his big body in the paint would’ve been very helpful against defending Anthony Davis.
The Timberwolves are going to have their hands full in this one and it is an uphill battle for this team without their two best defensive players.
On the other hand, it has been relatively smooth sailing for the Lakers since the trade deadline. They have an 18-9 record in the 27-game stretch since, which is among the best records in the Western Conference in that time.
D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and, Malik Beasley have all proven to be crucial additions to the team while also meshing perfectly with the rest of the roster. D’Angelo Russell has become the third option this team was hoping Russell Westbrook would be, Vanderbilt is providing stellar defense on the wing, and Beasley adds some much-needed floor spacing.
Two teams heading different in directions
The Lakers have serious momentum heading into the Play-In tournament, with their sights set on more than earning the seventh seed in the conference. LeBron James is hoping to will the historic franchise to his fifth championship in what has been an illustrious playing career.
The Wolves are coming into this game reeling with little to no time to right the ship. However, it is tough to count them out when they still have a blossoming young superstar in Anthony Edwards and one of the NBA’s best big men in Karl-Anthony Towns.
Ultimately, the losses of both Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert are going to prove too insurmountable. The Minnesota Timberwolves are simply going to be outmatched by the likes of LeBron James, Anthony, and Company.
LeBron James has rightfully earned his spot on the throne in large part because he has shown he can change his game into a gear that few other than him have been able to do come postseason time.
Playing this game on their home floor, The Lakers are listed as high as eight-point favorites on Caesar’s Sportsbook with good reason.
Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers defeat Minnesota Timberwolves