Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers NBA Preview & Pick
Thursday, January 24 at 10:30 PM ET
Coverage: TNT: Line: Lakers -2; O/U: 229.5.
The Minnesota Timberwolves visit a Los Angeles Lakers team that could have Rajon Rondo back.
The Timberwolves are coming off back-to-back wins over the Suns; first in a tight 116-114 contest at Minnesota on Sunday and then with a 118-91 beating at Phoenix on Tuesday while the Lakers have lost four of their last six games, including Monday’s 130-111 setback against the Warriors, when they witnessed Klay Thompson set an NBA record by making his first 10 3-point attempts.
Towns can’t be stopped
The Timberwolves are 2-1 against the Lakers this season and 4-3 under interim head coach Ryan Saunders, who took over for Tom Thibodeau when the team fired him after a 108-86 win against the Lakers on January 6.
Karl-Anthony Towns is playing at a high level, scoring at least 20 points in 13 of his last 14 games while averaging 26.1 points over that stretch. Towns scored a combined 55 points in the two games against the Suns while rookie Josh Okogie finished with a career-high 21 points at Phoenix last Tuesday and he’s averaging 11.7 points in seven games this month.
Rondo on his way back
Rajon Rondo will be a game-time decision tonight as he recovers from a torn ligament in his right ring finger and when he returns the Lakers will have a true point guard on the floor, as Lonzo Ball will miss at least a month after spraining his ankle against the Rockets last Saturday.
The Lakers employed a point-guard-by-committee approach in Monday’s loss against the Warriors and they had just 20 assists while the Warriors finished with 41. LeBron James, who averages team-bests with 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists, could have assumed ball-handling duties today but he’s still out with a groin injury, although he could come back against the Suns next Sunday.
James and Rondo haven’t played since Christmas Day, when the Lakers beat the Warriors 127-101 at ORACLE Arena and the team is just 5-9 since, with wins at Dallas and Oklahoma City but also with a home loss to the Cavaliers.
The Under is:
9-3-1 in Minnesota’s last 13 games against a team with a winning straight up record
8-3 in Minnesota’s last 11 games against Pacific Division opponents
23-8 in Los Angeles’ last 31 home games against a team with a losing road record
28-13 in Los Angeles’ last 41 overall
The Lakers won’ have James and Ball while Timberwolves guards Jeff Teague (foot) and Tyus Jones (ankle) are day-to-day and forward Robert Covington (knee) is out indefinitely. If Teague is out, Derrick Rose could get another start.
Rose was quiet on Tuesday, scoring just six points on 3 of 9 shooting in 23 minutes but he recorded five assists and he’s averaging 21.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 33.0 minutes over two games against the Lakers this season.
The Lakers couldn’t stop Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in the last meeting and their 21 turnovers led to 27 points for the Timberwolves but this is a very high total. If Rondo comes back he will push the pace and create for his teammates and the Timberwolves love to run up and down the court but that won’t necessarily translate into enough points to get Over this total.
Team rankings based on offensive efficiency:
Timberwolves – 14th (107.7 points scored per 100 possessions)
Lakers – 21st (105.3 points scored per 100 possessions)
NBA Pick: Under 229.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: Jazz Sports