The Minnesota Timberwolves (20-20) look to get above .500 as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans (14-26) this Tuesday evening. Minnesota has won four games in a row, including two straight on the road. The Pelicans have dropped four of their last five but did beat the Warriors.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Smoothie King Center
The Timberwolves (22-18 ATS) are a 3.5-point favorite over the Pelicans (18-22 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. This is already the fourth meeting of the season between these teams, and the Timberwolves are 2-1 with all three games decided by more than six points. Can the Timberwolves continue their playoff push?
The first two meetings this season happened in Minnesota in the second and third games of the season back in October. The Timberwolves won the first game, 96-89, and dropped the second one 107-98. When the teams met in New Orleans on November 22, Minnesota won 110-96.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored at least 25 points in all three games for Minnesota. He actually had one of his most dominant games of the season in the loss with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists.
Minnesota lost by nine points despite Towns being a plus-8 when he was on the court. It’s the only game this season Minnesota lost when Towns was better than a plus-2 (16-1 record). Minnesota was outscored by 17 points in the little over eight minutes where Towns was on the bench.
Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans’ leading scorer, was also very productive in the first two meetings before having arguably the worst game of his season at home in November. Ingram shot 2-of-13 from the field and scored nine points, a season-low in games where he played at least 10 minutes. He also had six turnovers as the Pelicans were sloppy with 21 turnovers that day.
It is worth noting that Minnesota shot under 41% from the field in all three games against the Pelicans, who have only held three other teams all season under 41%. Minnesota beat the Pelicans in New Orleans despite being outshot by 2.0 percentage points. The Timberwolves are 2-20 this season when being outshot by more than 1.0 percentage points, so that was a rare win.
The Pelicans simply could not make threes when playing the Timberwolves, the No. 7 defense in opponent 3P%. In Minnesota’s two wins, the Pelicans shot 22.5% and 18.8% from three, the two worst games of the season for New Orleans. The three-ball has not been a strength for New Orleans, which ranks 22nd in 3P%.
The Pelicans also shot a season-worst 34.8% from the field in the first meeting back in October. Oddly enough, in the rematch two days later, the Timberwolves shot 34.4%, their worst game of the season through 40 games.
Bet the Under?
With the way these teams have struggled offensively against each other, betting the under (227 points) may be the best bet in this matchup. But the Timberwolves have won four in a row after finally getting their big trio healthy and back together in Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D'Angelo Russell.
It cannot be overstated how important it is for this team to have its leading scoring trio together this season.
- Minnesota is 2-5 in games Towns misses and plus-10.9 points better with him on the court.
- Minnesota is 3-3 in games Edward misses and plus-11.2 points better with him on the court.
- Minnesota is 2-8 in games Russell misses and plus-16.7 points better with him on the court.
Minnesota has finally got all three back together for the last three games, all easy wins against the Thunder and Rockets. That’s weak competition with the two worst teams in the Western Conference, but guess which team has the third-worst record in the West? That would be New Orleans.
Minnesota has scored at least 135 points in consecutive games. A cool-down night is coming any day now, but this team should still have enough to take care of the Pelicans, who rank 25th in Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating.
Minnesota is getting healthy and has been reliable against bad teams. Against teams ranked 24th or worse in Net Rating, Minnesota is 8-2 SU with every win by at least five points. The Timberwolves are also 3-1 ATS as a road favorite this season. I would not expect offensive fireworks, but I like the Timberwolves to cover for your NBA picks this Tuesday evening.
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