If you were to poll NBA fans and media members at the beginning of the season, not many would have thought Monday night’s matchup in Minneapolis would be feature the two teams tied for the worst record in the Western Conference.
When the Mavs and Timberwolves tip-off, both teams will sport a record of 11-26 and be desperate their season back on the right track. Minnesota entered the season loaded with young talent they’ve acquired via the draft and trade the last few years and hopes for their first playoff appearance since 2004. Dallas thought their re-tooled roster could at least be marginally better than the playoff team they fielded last season.
To say the 2016-2017 has been a disappointment so far for these two teams would be an enormous understatement.
The Timberwolves have lost 4 straight games and simply haven’t had the “jump” in development that many expected them to have this season. The talent’s all there as former number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins scored 41 points in Friday night’s loss at the Wizards. What coach Tom Thibodeau is seeing too much this season are the kinds of games Wiggins put on both sides of the 41 point effort. The game before he scored just 8 points on 2-15 shooting and last night in a close loss to the Utah Jazz he scored 16 points on a less than impressive 6-19 from the floor.
The other former number one overall pick for Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns, is the darling of the league and averaging a double double with over 20 points per game at the center position. Why aren’t things working up in Minnesota?
For the Mavs, coming off a three game homestand where you win the first game then lose the next two is obviously disappointing. Dallas has actually won 3 of its last 5 road games after an abysmal 1-13 start away from the AAC.
Saturday night’s loss to the Hawks was the first time Dallas had every player on its roster available to play. J.J Barea returned from injury and had a positive impact in 17 minutes of play. In the second half. Mavs starters were way outplayed by the Hawks. There might not be too many more opportunities for the likes of Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams to gel with their teammates on the court with the February 23rd trade deadline quickly approaching and Cleveland already opening up the market with their acquisition of Kyle Korver from the Hawks.
Gametime is set for 7 PM from the Target Center and the game will be shown on Fox Sports Southwest.
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