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The Atlanta Hawks (7-7) enter tonight’s game having won both of their past two games, including a 108-97 win over Minnesota and most recently, a 123-115 OT win over Detroit. Despite being short-handed against the Pistons, Atlanta was able to come back from a 17 point deficit at the start of the fourth period to force overtime. Trae Young scored 38 points, while John Collins had 31. Clint Capela scored 27 points and pulled down 26 rebounds in the win.
Minnesota (3-10) has been dealing with injuries and COVID issues recently. The Timberwolves had to play Orlando without star Karl-Anthony Towns and lost 97-96 on a three-pointer at the buzzer. De’Angelo Russell led the Timberwolves with 19 points and six assists, while Naz Reid, starting in place of Towns, scored 14 points.
Both teams played each other recently in Atlanta, with the Hawks coming away with the 108-97 victory. De’Andre Hunter scored 25 points, while Clint Capela scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Trae Young chipped in 20 for the Hawks, who shot 46.8% from the field and 23-25 from the free throw line. DeAngelo Russell led the Wolves with 31 points and seven assists. Malik Beasley, who finished with 15 points, struggled from the field, hitting just five of his 17 shot attempts. The Timberwolves also shot 11-16 from the free-throw line.
The Hawks will be without Bogdan Bogdanovich, while De’Andre Hunter (sore knee) and Cam Reddish (knee contusion) are questionable. Neither of the latter played against Detroit. The Timberwolves will be without Ricky Rubio and Karl-Anthony Towns. Josh Okogie is listed as questionable, but played against Orlando.
The Timberwolves have gotten used to playing without Karl-Anthony Towns, who has dealt with injuries and now illness early this season. But, they have not found success in the win column without their star, and probably won’t tonight either. The Hawks hold a significant advantage in the paint, so look for Capela to have another big night against a thin Timberwolves frontcourt.
Capela Key Against Timberwolves
Clint Capela is coming off his best career performance against Detroit, where he recorded the NBA’s first 25/25 game since Karl-Anthony Towns did it in January 2019. He was instrumental in the Hawks win over the Timberwolves last weekend and should have a big advantage in the paint when matched up against Naz Reid.
Leading the way for Atlanta is Trae Young, who averages 24.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 9.0 apg. De’Andre Hunter (16.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has connected on 40.0% of his three-point attempts this season, helping him average 16.3 ppg. Clint Capela has averaged a double-double, scoring 14.3 ppg while pulling down 14.2 rpg. John Collins has excelled on the offensive end recently, having pushed his offensive production to 16.7 ppg while hauling in 7.5 rpg.
Offensively, the Hawks are 25th in the NBA in effective field goal percent (50.6%), 15th in turnover percent (13.0%), 3rd in offensive rebounding percent (25.7%), and 1st in free throws per field goal attempts (.236). Defensively, Atlanta is 3rd in opponents effective field goal percent (50.2%), 27th in opponent turnover percent (11.4%), 14th in defensive rebounding percent (78.2%), and 21st in opponents free throws per field goal attempts (.197).
Timberwolves Continue to Struggle Without Towns
Very little has gone right for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost Karl-Anthony Towns to injury and now COVID protocols early. His extended absence has created a hole on both ends of the floor. Naz Reid, who has started in Towns’s place, has just not been able to replicate the superstar’s production, especially on the boards.
D’Angelo Russell (21.4 ppg/3.0 rpg/5.6 apg) and Malik Beasley (19.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 37.9% 3pt) have increased their offensive production to offset the loss of Towns. Rookie Anthony Edwards has averaged 12.2 ppg through his first thirteen games, while Naz Reid (10.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg) has taken on a more prominent role in the rotation.
The problems aren’t limited to the offensive end, where Minnesota is ranked 26th in effective field goal percent (50.3%). On the defensive end, the Timberwolves are 21st in opponents effective field goal percent (54.3%), 27th in opponent scoring (116.2 ppg), 25th in opponent shooting percent (47.9%), and 19th in opponent three-point percent. It’s tough to find wins when struggling on both ends of the floor.
- Minnesota: Timberwolves are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Friday games.
- Minnesota: Timberwolves are 8-18 ATS in their last 26 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Atlanta: Hawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Atlanta: N/A
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Let’s start with the winner of this game. I firmly believe Atlanta will win. Clint Capela and John Collins have been awfully good lately, and that has taken some of the pressure off of Trae Young. The caveat is with De’Andre Hunter. If Hunter cannot go, the Hawks will be shorthanded (again) and will be without one of their main scoring threats. If the spread is large (>8), pay attention to the injury report. I’ll take the Hawks and give the points if Hunter plays, but think the Timberwolves will cover if he doesn’t.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Hawks have trended strongly toward the UNDER in recent games. Atlanta’s totals have gone UNDER in all six of the past games after an opponent scored over 100 points. The total has also gone UNDER in all five of the Hawks’ previous games against teams with a losing home record. Minnesota hasn’t trended in either direction, but injuries on both sides could derail scoring, so I’m taking the UNDER.