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2018-19 NBA Season: NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction - Minnesota Timberwolves vs Denver Nuggets

Jason Mills
ANALYST
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453   //    11 Mar 2019, 22:51 IST

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves

Timberwolves vs Nuggets at the Denver Pepsi Center March 12th, 2019

The 2018-19 edition of the Denver Nuggets has been both a delight to watch and play basketball but also a study to most general managers on how to build your franchise into a success. The Nuggets are the second best team in the Western Conference and the main contributors to their successful campaign so far are players under 30 years old. 

The only exceptions are Nick Young and Paul Millsap.  The Nuggets' youth includes 21-year-old guard Jamal Murray who is averaging 18.2ppg and Nikola Jokic, 23 years old, averaging a double-double with 20.4ppg and 10.8rpg. The Nuggets are 27-6 at home and 28-14 against the Western Conference this season with just 17 games to play.  

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been a disappointment. After making the playoffs in 2018 they started the 2018-19 season with drama involving Jimmy Butler resulting in him being traded to Philadelphia. Since then, the Timberwolves have dropped to 10th overall in the Western Conference and it resulted in the firing of head coach Tom Thibodeau. 

Currently, the Timberwolves are 32-35 on the season and will most likely watch the 2019 NBA playoffs from home. The only bright spots for this franchise is the 24.5ppg from Karl-Anthony Towns and the revelation that Derrick Rose can still play at a high level in the NBA after some near career-ending injuries he struggled through. This contest on Tuesday night in Denver will be a tough test for the Timberwolves who are 9-25 on the road even though they have won their last two matches. The T-wolves have lost their last five road games giving up an average of 131.8ppg.  

The Expected Starting Line ups

The Timberwolves Starters:

Minnesota Timberwolves v Detroit Pistons
Minnesota Timberwolves v Detroit Pistons

The current T-Wolves head coach Ryan Saunders will likely start Josh Okogie and Jeff Teague at the guard positions. In recent games, Saunders has started Karl-Anthony Towns at center with Dario Saric and Keita Bates-Diop at the forward spots.

The Denver Nuggets Starters:

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

Expect Nuggets head coach Mike Malone to counter with Jamal Murray and Garry Harris at the guard positions. Nikola Jokic will play center and Will Barton and Paul Millsap will round out the starting frontcourt.

Expectations, Why and Match Prediction

The Timberwolves have basically played very little defense in their last five road games giving up 131.8ppg. The T-wolves are 10th in the NBA in points per game scored at 113 but they may be without their third best scorer Andrew Wiggins (17.6ppg) due to a left quad contusion. The fact that they are the 4th worst in the association as far as offensive rebounds allowed, at 11.2 per game, is not a good sign against a player like Jokic of the Nuggets. 

Karl-Anthony Towns is a premier rebounder averaging 12.3rpg. However, the next best rebounder on the team is rotation player Taj Gibson at 6.6rpg. Towns will need help in the rebounding category. The T-Wolves do hold their opponents to just 46.3% from the field but are only 19th in the association in field goal efficiency shooting 45.6 %.  Their most efficient shooters are Karl-Anthony Towns at 52.4% and Taj Gibson at 57.2%. If Wiggins is able to play, he is only shooting 40% from the field.

The Nuggets have seven double-digit scorers this season in their balanced attack. It is led by center Jokic at 20.4ppg and Murray at 18.2ppg. The Nuggets average 46.7% from the field for 11th in the NBA and are averaging 112 ppg. The Denver Nuggets ball movement is exceptional as they average 27.6 assists each game. Jokic leads the assist parade at 7.6 per game from the center position.  

The Nuggets are a good defensive team holding opponents to 107.3ppg for 3rd in the Association. Their stingy defense centers around holding opponents to one and done opportunities, giving up just 42 rebounds per game. Jokic hauls down 10.8 rebounds per game and Millsap also averages 7.1 per game. They also hold opponents to 34.3% from the three-point line.

The Timberwolves struggle on the road and do not defend well especially in their last 5 road games. The Nuggets are a good defensive and rebounding team. The Nuggets also protect home court extremely well. Tuesday night's contest between the Nuggets and the T-Wolves, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, will provide the Nuggets with their 44th win of the season with a double-digit victory.

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