Opponent: Minnesota Timberwolves
Location: Target Center (Minneapolis)
Time: 8:00 PM EDT
Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO app
Are you not entertained?
The Nets (18-44) won a back-and-forth overtime thriller in Denver last night capped off by a Brook Lopez tip-in with 0.4 seconds left. Despite getting out-rebounded 50-34, the Nets’ relentless and productive offense would not be denied, thanks to 50.5 percent shooting including 59.1 percent (13-22) from three-point range.
It was a performance that stemmed from crisp passing (32 assists on 46 field goals), precision shooting, and strong will to notch their third road win on the road trip. Markel Brown, who’s done his finest work against Denver the past two seasons, stepped up again with 21 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
Tonight, the Nets leave the thin Denver air and step into the arctic chill of Minnesota to play the Timberwolves (19-43). First year head coach Sam Mitchell’s Wolves have lost three straight games, including a 116-101 defeat in Milwaukee last night. Defense, as it has all season, let the ‘Wolves down, as they conceded 51.8 percent shooting (58.3 from three-point range). NBA Rookie of the Year frontrunner Karl-Anthony Towns had yet another impressive game with 21 points (10-for-14) and seven rebounds.
Unfortunately, Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young won’t be able to stop Towns: both are out for rest.
Towns, the #1 overall pick out of Kentucky in last year’s draft, is having a terrific season by any standards. The 20-year old has started all 62 games, averaging 17.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks with a 53.9 field goal percentage. Towns has improved as the season has progressed; in February, he averaged 21.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.
This will be the second of two meetings between the Nets and Timberwolves this season. On December 20th, Towns scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes to lead the road ‘Wolves to a 100-85 victory at Barclays Center. Point guard Ricky Rubio dished out 15 assists along with 4 steals, and last season’s Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins poured in 16 points. Wiggins leads the Timberwolves in scoring at 20.5 points per game.
What to watch for: More threes! The Nets have shot 38.1 percent from long-range since January 1 (30 games), good for fourth in the league during that span. Prior to January 1 (32 games), the Nets shot .321 from 3-point range, 28th in the league. In his last 14 games, Bojan Bogdanovic is shooting 46.2 pct. (31-for-67) from three.