Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
Free NBA Pick: 76ers ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
The marquee matchup in the NBA on Tuesday night is Warriors at Nuggets, but perhaps the more interesting game is an NBA TV telecast featuring the Timberwolves at 76ers as Jimmy Butler faces his former Minnesota teammates for the first time.
Of course, Butler forced his way out of Minnesota by pouting all during camp and into the season, and he finally forced the hand of coach and team president Tom Thibodeau on Nov. 12 with the Wolves imploding around Butler. Thibs sent him and throw-in Justin Patton to Philadelphia for Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
We probably can’t judge this trade accurately until after this season. If Butler leads the 76ers to the NBA Finals, and re-signs as a free agent this offseason it’s an obvious win. However, Butler already is reportedly bitching to Coach Brett Brown about Brown’s offense and it doesn’t seem like superstar Joel Embiid loves Butler all that much. If Philly fizzles out in the first round of the playoffs and Butler leaves in free agency, well, that’s a clear win for the Timberwolves.
No matter what, though, Thibodeau was the loser here because he was recently fired from both jobs. He would have gotten more for Butler if he had traded him this past summer, but Thibs’ stubbornness likely cost him. The Wolves dug such a big early hole that it’s likely they miss the playoffs under interim coach Ryan Saunders. Incidentally, Butler and the Sixers visit Minnesota on March 30. That should be fun!
Minnesota has lost four in a row in Philadelphia since a 126-95 victory on Jan. 6, 2014.
KAT Scratch Fever
Minnesota won for the fourth time in five games Saturday, 110-106 over visiting New Orleans to get within a game of .500 – the team has been over break even just once (13-12). Karl-Anthony Towns was spectacular vs the Pelicans with 27 points and a career-high 27 rebounds (most by any player this season) in the team’s first home win under Saunders.
Starting point guard Jeff Teague left with an ankle injury; he missed nine games earlier with a problem to that ankle, so he’s surely not playing here. Not clear on Derrick Rose, who has missed seven of the past eight with his own ankle issue. Thus, could be plenty of Tyus Jones. The Wolves are 17-13 since the Butler deal. Covington remains out injured.
The Sixers ended a two-game slide with a 108-105 home win over the Knicks on Sunday in a game that shouldn’t have been that close. Ben Simmons had arguably his best game as a pro with 20 points, 22 rebounds and nine assists. He became just the fifth guard in NBA history to have ever pulled down at least 22 rebounds in a single game, joining Jerry West, Fat Lever, Oscar Robertson and Tom Gola.
Embiid had 26 points and eight boards. Butler had 16. Butler’s scoring is down with Philly, but that’s largely because Embiid is option No. 1. Butler was a game-time call vs. New York with a rib injury. No freaking chance he misses this one.
- Timberwolves are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- 76ers are 25-10 ATS in their last 35 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Pretty simple when it comes to these teams: Bet the Sixers when they are home and against the Wolves when they are on the road. That’s the play for Tuesday’s NBA wager.