The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips Western Conference rivals Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets – and their influential big men, KAT and Jockic – lock horns in a key clash.
12:00 (AEDT), Sat 2nd Apr @ Ball Arena, Denver
History: Played 141: Nuggets 86 V Timberwolves 55
Last meeting: February 1, 2022: Timberwolves 130 d Nuggets 115 at Target Center
Final Thoughts: Sixth hosts seventh in this Western Conference duel as the play-in tournament scenario goes down to the wire.
The 45-31 Nuggets have emerged from a patchy fortnight to overcome the Thunder (113-107) at home, and the Hornets (113-109) and Pacers (125-118) away this week. Nikola Jokic continues to do the grunt work for his team, posting a triple-double in Charlotte (26 pts, 19 reb, 11 ast) and coming within an assist of another in Indianapolis (37 pts, 13 reb, 9 ast). He has been immense with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr on the long-term injured list.
But the Nuggets’ role-players are contributing regularly: Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, Will Barton and Monte Morris all scored 14-plus points against the Hornets. Nah’Shon Hyland (20 pts, 7 ast) starred off the bench against the Pacers.
The 43-34 Timberwolves have hit a rough spot amid a tough section of the late-season schedule. They have won only one (a 19-point home defeat of the Mavericks) of their last five, going down to the Mavs, Suns, Celtics and Raptors.
The T-Wolves’ losses in Boston and Toronto this week were both by 22-plus margins. Karl-Anthony Towns was restricted to less than 20 points in both games, while D’Angelo Russell scored just 17 points across the two blowout defeats.
After the Nuggets won an early-season encounter in Minneapolis 93-91, the Timberwolves carved out convincing wins on the road in December (124-107) – with Anthony Edwards and Towns combining for 70 points to negate Jokic’s triple-double – and at home in February (130-115) as Towns (24 pts, 10 reb, 7 ast) and Jokic (21 pts, 16 reb, 8 ast) going toe-to-toe.
The Nuggets are 22-15 at home (14-23 ATS) but have won only two of their last six at Ball Arena. The Timberwolves are 18-22 on the road this season (20-19 ATS) and have lost their last three away.
The Timberwolves – and Towns – need to find a way out of their mini-slump if they’re to be any chance of avoiding the play-in tournament. But the Nuggets shape as a stingy top-six gatekeeper with Jokic in such dominant form and an opportunity to inch further up the West standings before the end of the regular season.
Best Bet: Result – Nuggets @ $1.80