Minnesota Timberwolves vs Orlando Magic Preview and Predictions -02-28-2020
It’s an interconference battle on the hardwood down in the Sunshine State between a team on the outside of the playoff picture and one trying to hang on to their spot. The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the road as they make the trip to face the Orlando Magic Friday night. Minnesota edged Miami 129-126 on the road Wednesday night in their last game. Orlando ran to a 130-120 road win over Atlanta in their last game Wednesday night in a divisional matchup. The Magic leads the all-time regular season series 37-22 with the teams splitting two matchups last season. In the most recent matchup, it was the Magic taking a 122-112 home win on February 7, 2019.
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Minnesota Timberwolves Look for Sweep in the Sunshine State
Minnesota snapped a five-game slide as they managed to knock off a slumping Miami team on the road Wednesday night. The Timberwolves entered Thursday in the basement of the Northwest Division, 22.5 games behind the Nuggets for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team stood 14th, 10.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. Minnesota led by one after the opening quarter, trailed by three at the half and led by one after three quarters. The Timberwolves trailed 119-107 with 4:39 to play but rallied to outscore the Heat 22-7 to earn the win. Minnesota shot 51.6 percent from the floor, including 17 of 46 from three-point range, and forced 22 turnovers to offset allowing Miami to shoot 52.3 percent in the game. D’Angelo Russell led the Timberwolves with 27 points and six assists in the win.
The Timberwolves enter this one 10th in the league in scoring offense as they average 113 points per game this season. Minnesota is 16th in the league in rebounding as they collect 45.2 boards per contest and 19th as they dish out 23.7 assists per game. The Timberwolves are 27th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 116.9 points per contest. Karl-Anthony Towns is leading the team with 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. D’Angelo Russell is going to run the point and provide a solid secondary option. Juan Hernangomez, James Johnson, Omari Spellman, Jake Layman, Jordan McLaughlin, Allen Crabbe, Jarrett Culver and Malik Beasley are other guys that need to contribute. Minnesota is 27th in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.8 percent from the floor this season. The Timberwolves are 6th by knocking down 13.3 threes per game while the team is 29th by shooting 33.4 percent from beyond the arc as a team this season. Layman (toe) returned against the Mavericks on February 24 after missing more than three months with a toe injury. Towns is out indefinitely with a fractured wrist and is to be re-evaluated in early March.
Orlando Magic Looking to Hold Playoff Position
Orlando won their second straight and their fourth in the last five games as they ran past Atlanta in their last game. The Magic entered Thursday second in the Southeast Division, 10 games behind Miami for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team held the final playoff spot by 4.5 games over Washington. Orlando trailed by four after the opening quarter and was tied at the half before taking control with a 39-31 edge in the third quarter. The Magic didn’t let the Hawks get closer than four the rest of the way. Orlando shot 49 percent from the field, including 14 of 32 from three-point range, and held a 52-42 margin on the glass. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 28 points, five assists and three steals in the win.
The Magic is 29th in the league in scoring offense with 104.6 points per game so far this season. Orlando is 18th in the league in rebounding with 44.7 boards per contest and 21st with 23.4 assists per game this season. The Magic is first in the league in scoring defense as they allow only 106.1 points per contest. Nikola Vucevic contributes 19 points plus 10.9 rebounds per contest this season. Evan Fournier puts up 19 points per game this season. Terrence Ross (13.6 points), Markelle Fultz (11.8points) and D.J. Augustin (10.2 points, 4.5 assists) have contributed on the offensive end. The Magic needs more consistency from Aaron Gordon (14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds), Al-Farouq Aminu and Jonathan Isaac (12 points, 6.9 rebounds) in order to have success. Orlando is tied for 29th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 43.5 percent from the floor as a team. The Magic are tied for 26th in the league in threes per game as they knock down 10.7 triples per contest while the team is 28th in three-point shooting by converting 33.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Aminu is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus. Isaac suffered a severe knee sprain and bone contusion against the Wizards January 1 and is expected to miss a couple of months. It was reported that the team received a disabled player exception for Aminu. According to the organization, both players are expected to miss the rest of the season, putting pressure on James Ennis III, Khem Birch and Mo Bamba, among others.
The Minnesota Timberwolves (also commonly known as the Wolves) are an American professional basketball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. Founded in 1989, the team is owned by Glen Taylor who also owns the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. The Timberwolves play their home games at Target Center, their home since 1990.
Like most expansion teams, the Timberwolves struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Kevin Garnett in the 1995 NBA draft, the team qualified for the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2004. Despite losing in the first round in their first seven attempts, the Timberwolves won their first division championship in 2004 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals that same season. Garnett was also named the NBA Most Valuable Player for that season. The team then went into rebuilding mode for more than a decade after missing the postseason in 2005, and trading Garnett to the Boston Celtics in 2007. Garnett returned to the Timberwolves in a February 2015 trade and finished his career there, retiring in the 2016 offseason. The Timberwolves ended a 14-year playoff drought when they returned to the postseason in 2018.