Friday night features an NBA matchup of teams still trying to find their footing as the Toronto Raptors (14-15) will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-22). Minnesota will host this one at the Target Center, with tipoff scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
This will be the second game of a back-to-back for the Toronto Raptors. On Thursday, they beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 110-96. In the win, Norman Powell scored 29, while Pascal Siakam added 27. Thanks to a weak Eastern Conference, they still find themselves in 6th, but obviously would like to improve their seeding as the season progresses.
At 7-22, it is no surprise that the Timberwolves are dead last in the Western Conference. In fact, they have now lost six of their last seven games. The one win, though, was over the Toronto Raptors 116-112 on the road. They will look to defend their home court Friday, where they are currently 4-10.
The Raptors are the favorites in this one despite playing on the road. Toronto is -162 to win while the Timberwolves’ moneyline is +136. The spread features Minnesota +3.5 while the over/under for total points is 231.5.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Toronto has been the stronger of the two teams. They currently rank 11th in scoring, averaging 114.2 points per game. Minnesota falls to 24th averaging 108.8 points, but they have averaged 116 per game over their last three.
Defensively, it is once again the Raptors who hold the advantage. They rank 15th in scoring defense, allowing 112.1 points per game to opponents. Minnesota ranks 27th, allowing 116.2 to opponents.
Toronto Looking To Win Two In Two Days
It was a big win for the Toronto Raptors on Thursday as they were able to take down the Milwaukee Bucks, who currently sit 3rd in the East, in impressive fashion. While they get relief in a much worse team in Minnesota, they will have to battle the fatigue of two games in as many days.
Kyle Lowry will, unfortunately, be out for this one as he is dealing with a sprained thumb. That is 17.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists missing from the lineup.
With Lowry out, the Raptors will lean even more heavily on Pascal Siakam (20.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists), Fred VanVleet (20.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.7 assists), and Norman Powell (16.7 points).
One area that the Raptors have struggled this season has been in the interior, so they may have their hands full with Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. In the first matchup, he had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota Looks To Beat Raptors Again
In what appears to be a lost season for the Timberwolves, they are trying to look for positives wherever they can get them. Being able to have the Raptors’ number and beating Toronto again might be a small victory in an otherwise disappointing season.
The Timberwolves are thrilled to have their superstar big man, Karl-Anthony Towns, back in the fold. Due to a myriad of COVID-19 issues, Towns will be playing in just his 10th game. In that span, he is averaging 21.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists.
Other contributors for Minnesota include Malik Beasley (20.9 points, 4.9 rebounds), Anthony Edwards (14.6 points, 3.7 rebounds), and Naz Reid (12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds).
Unfortunately, star guard D’Angelo Russell will still be out as he deals with a knee issue.
Taking Toronto To Win And Cover
The Raptors will look to make it three in a row as they travel to Minnesota on Friday. While I am generally leery of teams on the tail end of a back-to-back, I like the Raptors to win and cover in this one.
They have started to successfully adjust to playing more of a small ball game, and even though Karl-Anthony Towns can make life tough for any opponent, I like the Raptors to beat a team that is short on depth and talent in Minnesota. For my money, I am taking Toronto to win and to cover the modest 3.5-point spread.