The Minnesota Timberwolves (22-24) have been unsuccessful on their brief West Coast trip. They look to salvage a game as they play the Golden State Warriors (18-24) who have also been riding rough times as of late.
Tip-off is scheduled for Monday at 10:30 pm ET at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
NBA odds makers had opened with the Warriors as a 1 point favorite and the total listed at 205.5, however, early NBA betting action has since lifted the spread to 1.5 points while lowering the total to 204.
Does this movement in the NBA lines open the door for our NBA picks? If so, where should we be looking to find the best value in this matchup?
Minnesota has lost 3 straight and 5 of their last 6, thus leaving them 2 games behind for the final spot for in the NBA Playoffs. Not having guard Ricky Rubio has been a major blow and the Wolves were without the services of center Nikola Pekovic on Sunday. Minnesota need's Pekovic's offensive presence and he's listed as day to day with an ankle injury. It has gotten so difficult that teammates Kevin Love and J.J. Barea were arguing on the bench.
Normally, you would say that the Warriors have the edge in this game, winning 6 of their last 7 against Minnesota, but that's not the case. The Warriors could be without guard Stephen Curry for a fourth straight game and they've been inept since the Monta Ellis trade. Golden State thought that the trade would be the right move where long-term is concerned but presently, that's a lot of offense to be missing.
The beauty of this game is someone has to win. Do you have the Warriors as your NBA Pick or are you siding with Kevin Love and the playoff-contending T-Wolves?
Battle of the big men
Whether Pekovic play's or not, this game has clearly come down to who can outduel the other, Kevin Love or David Lee. These are the two consistent pieces to each team’s puzzle that they can count on during a rough and long schedule.
If you look at big Kevin Love and his scruffy exterior, you wouldn't think that he's a product of the UCLA Bruins. Looks are deceiving as Love is turning out to be one of the best products to come out of UCLA since Reggie Miller. This guy could've played on the great Bruins teams of the early 70's, as he has a lot of Bill Walton in him.
Okay, it's a new era and a different venue, but Love is proving to be a strong candidate for NBA Most Valuable Player. Love has been a beast in the month of March, averaging 29.7 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. Aside from Dwight Howard, this is the only man in the NBA that's capable of putting up a 30-30 (30 points, 30 rebounds, and he has). Love is hard working and excels on put backs. Losing Ricky Rubio is a major blow to Love's game but he'll overcome the loss because he's too great a player.
Depending on the status off Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love might have an extra burden to carry. Fortunately for the Wolves, the Warriors are having problems of their own.
Despite his hall of fame playing career, everyone in New York has major hatred for Isiah Thomas. So much that whenever Isiah Thomas (no relation) of the Sacramento Kings get's the ball, the fans boo.
One thing that Thomas did right was draft a gem in David Lee as the 30th pick in the 1st round and also showed faith in 5 foot 9 guard Nate Robinson. Eventually Lee and Robinson were traded to create a new look Knicks but these are two "warriors" that the Warriors can put on the court each game.
David Lee has been the model of consistency, putting up a double-double on almost every night. I've stated this before because I've seen him practice. This guy is relentless in the pursuit of excellence, and while he may not have the talent of Dwight Howard but he get's everything out of his game. The numbers tell the story as Lee is averaging 19.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Look for David Lee to have a huge game while dealing with the offense of Kevin Love will be no small task.
Nate the great
Guard Nate Robinson has made a few stops at a cities but he's the definition of enthusiasm and as tough as a bull. He was a 2-sport player in college and carries that mentality over to the NBA, despite his lack of size.
Robinson can shoot the rock, but is more of a reliable bench player that can be called upon to start. Robinson has only started 4 out of 35 games this season but still put's up a respectable 10.5 points per game. Due to getting minutes lately, Robinson has been playing at a higher level, averaging 17.3 points, 6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 3 steals in his last 4 games.
Look for Nate Robinson to be a major factor in this game.
Outcome of the game
The outcome of this game will be dependent upon the presence of Nikola Pekovic. If Pekovic plays it will also affect the odds. Let's assume that he's not playing or get's little playing time.
There's some dissention in the lock room of the Timberwolves, as they feel the playoffs slipping away. Kevin Love is putting up huge numbers but it's not amounting to victories. I like Golden State with the home court edge in this game. The spread is nearly even and look for the Warriors to get it done against a team that they've owned.
Monday Night NBA Pick - Golden State -1.5