The OKC Thunder are in the hunt for a playoff place, thanks to an 18-24 record on the season, which places them 11th in the West. The Minnesota Timberwolves, meanwhile, are languishing at the bottom of the standings with a dismal 10-32 start to their campaign.
Fixture: OKC Thunder vs Minnesota Timberwolves | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Monday, March 22nd; 8:00 PM ET (Tuesday, March 23rd; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue: Target Center, Minnesota.
OKC Thunder Preview
The OKC Thunder have struggled to generate offense this season, managing a lowly offensive rating of 105.4. They rank second-last in the league in the aforementioned category. Combined with their poor offensive rebounding and 3-point shooting, the Thunder have a quite blunt offense.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest concern for head coach Mark Daigneault has been the lack of scoring options at his disposal.
The OKC Thunder's second and third highest scorers this season are Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley, who have produced 12.6 and 11.9 points, respectively. No other player apart from the duo and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging more than ten points per game, which explains their offensive woes.
Key Player - Luguentz Dort
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is sidelined with a shoulder issue, which means the responsibility of leading the team in scoring front will fall on Luguentz Dort, who, ironically, is the team's best defensive player.
Dort was the star of the show for OKC Thunder in their last game against the Houston Rockets, putting up 23 points along with some stellar defensive work too.
His shooting has looked a bit better this year compared to last season. So Daigeneault will hope the Canadian has a big night against the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G - Theo Maledon , G - Luguentz Dort ; F - Isiah Roby ,F - Aleksej Pokuševski ; C - Moses Brown.
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been a very inefficient team this season, making just 44% of their attempts from the field.
They are the second-worst shooting team in the league and also rank third in points conceded. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been shambolic at both ends of the court, and it looks like they are heading towards the lottery.
Rookie Anthony Edwards' recent form has been one of the few silver linings for the Timberwolves. The shooting guard has averaged 16.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his debut campaign in the competition.
The Timberwolves have terribly missed D'Angelo Russell, who has missed a lot of games due to injury.
Key Player - Karl-Anthony Towns
After being sidelined for a lengthy period due to the league's health and safety protocols, Karl-Anthony Towns has made an immediate impact for the Minnesota Timberwolves on his return.
He has averaged 23 points and ten rebounds per game on 39% shooting from the 3-point range. He has also improved the Minnesota Timberwolves on the defensive front, putting up 1.6 blocks per game.
Nevertheless, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had an atrocious campaign, and if someone can resurrect their season, it is Karl Anthony-Towns.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Lineup
G - Ricky Rubio, G - Anthony Edwards, F - Josh Okogie, F - Jaden McDaniels, C - Karl-Anthony Towns.
Thunder vs Timberwolves Match Prediction
The OKC Thunder are the underdogs going into this game despite having a better season record than the Minnesota Timberwolves. That is because they'll be without their two best players, Darius Bazley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
It means the Timberwolves have a great opportunity to improve their dismal record and return to winning ways.