The Miami Heat host the Minnesota Timberwolves in an inter-conference fixture on Friday night. While the Heat are among playoff favorites in the Eastern Conference, the Wolves are out of postseason contention in the West.
The Minnesota Timberwolves surprised everyone by finishing April with four consecutive wins. They've followed that up with two tough losses, but the Wolves are certainly in the ascendancy. D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns have also started to click together.
The Miami Heat's three-game winning run came to a halt against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Erik Spoelstra's men are placed seventh in the East with a 35-31 record, the same as the Boston Celtics, but the latter enjoys a head-to-head advantage.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Miami Heat: Injury Report
Rookie forward Jaden McDaniels is the only addition to the Minnesota Timberwolves' injury report. McDaniels will miss out against the Miami Heat due to personal reasons.
Jarrett Culver and Malik Beasley are the other two absentees for the Timberwolves. Culver suffered an ankle injury in the latter part of April and has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery. Beasley remains sidelined with a hamstring injury but is expected to return soon.
Jimmy Butler missed the Miami Heat's last game against the Dallas Mavericks due to flu-like symptoms. He's been listed as questionable for tonight. Tyler Herro hasn't featured in the Heat's last six fixtures due to soreness in his right foot. He remains questionable as well.
Victor Oladipo has been sidelined indefinitely with a knee issue. Oladipo has missed 14 straight games already and could remain inactive for the rest of the regular season as well.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Miami Heat: Predicted Lineups
The Minnesota Timberwolves will field a largely similar starting lineup from their last match. D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards will form the backcourt while Josh Okogie will provide cover for these two with his defensive nous.
With Jaden McDaniels missing the tie, Jarred Vanderbilt is likely to be promoted to the starting lineup. Karl-Anthony Towns will occupy the center's role. Ricky Rubio, Naz Reid and Juancho Hernangomez will be key contributors for the Timberwolves off the bench.
The Miami Heat's starting five will also comprise familiar names. Kendrick Nunn will continue to start as the point guard in the absence of Victor Oladipo, while Duncan Robinson will slot in as the shooting guard.
The Heat enjoyed a two-day gap since their last game and that should ideally be enough for Jimmy Butler to alleviate his flu symptoms and return to the starting lineup as the small forward. Trevor Ariza and Bam Adebayo will complete the frontcourt.
Goran Dragic will be the first name off the bench from the Miami Heat. The likes of KZ Okpala and Dewayne Dedmon could play vital minutes too.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Miami Heat: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - D'Angelo Russell | Shooting Guard - Anthony Edwards | Small Forward - Josh Okogie | Power Forward - Jarred Vanderbilt | Center - Karl-Anthony Towns
Point Guard - Kendrick Nunn | Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson | Small Forward - Jimmy Butler | Power Forward - Trevor Ariza | Center - Bam Adebayo