The Minnesota Timberwolves will travel to face the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday after falling to their opponents at home on Sunday. Both sides have had a shaky start to their 2020-21 NBA season and have underperformed on the defensive end.
In Minnesota, the Nuggets' firepower, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, were too much for the Timberwolves to handle. For the reverse fixture, and without Karl-Anthony Towns for the foreseeable future, the offensive onus will remain on the T-Wolves' young guards.
Fixture: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Denver Nuggets | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Tuesday, January 5th, 9 PM ET.
Venue: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves have lost their last four games after starting the season with two wins. This was prior to them losing star center Karl-Anthony Towns on Boxing Day and, since his absence, the Timberwolves have seen a steep decline in their ability to match opponents' output.
While production on offense has remained fairly consistent, Minnesota has struggled defensively against the might of both Los Angeles teams, Denver and Washington. Facing the Denver Nuggets again, this time on the road, the Timberwolves will need to limit their opposition's bench contribution, which crippled them on Sunday night.
Key Player - Malik Beasley
Flying under the radar have been the performances of young guard Malik Beasley. Without Karl-Anthony Towns, Beasley has had to continue the form he carried while playing 14 games for the Timberwolves at the end of last season.
Beasley is averaging 19 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, ahead of fellow guard and Minnesota Timberwolves star D'Angelo Russell. Granted, Russell as a facilitator is greater on the offensive end for his all-around play. However, Beasley has started with the hot hand for his side, shooting with 55% field-goal efficiency. After impressing against his former side, Beasley will be fired up for a second encounter on Tuesday.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Line-up
G D'Angelo Russell, G Malik Beasley, F Juancho Hernangomez, F Jarrett Culver, C Ed Davis
Denver Nuggets Preview
The hangover from the Denver Nuggets successful playoff performance in the bubble is truly kicking in. After the opening fortnight, the Nuggets are 2-4, and have struggled to finish out games the way they would have expected to in past seasons. Additionally, they are way off pace defensively, ranking 29th in the league.
After a confident road performance in Minnesota in which the Denver Nuggets' bench came up big, they will be expecting to win again on their home court and re-ignite their season.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
Jokic means business this year for the Denver Nuggets and is an early contender for MVP. The Serbian center is outperforming all expectations, which were already high, by averaging a triple-double (22.3 points, 12.8 assists and 11.2 rebounds).
He is the quintessential NBA big man, able to shoot the ball at over 60% efficiency from the field while bullying opponents in the paint. This year, he has added playmaking to his game and leads the league in assists. Despite a slow start, the Denver Nuggets behind Jokic and Jamal Murray can expect to finish with home court advantage in the 2021 playoffs.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Line-up
G Gary Harris, G Jamal Murray, F Will Barton, F Paul Millsap, C Nikola Jokic
Timberwolves vs Nuggets Prediction
Playing in Minnesota, the Denver Nuggets proved too much for their short-handed opposition and will prove so again on Tuesday night. With Karl-Anthony Towns' return date unknown and Jokic playing at MVP-caliber, there will be a mismatch at center for the Minnesota Timberwolves that will again prove costly.
Where to watch Timberwolves vs Nuggets
The Minnesota Timberwolves - Denver Nuggets matchup will be aired locally on Altitude TV. For fans outside the U.S., you can stream the game live with an NBA League Pass.Published 05 Jan 2021, 04:15 IST