Off Horrid Loss, Expect Bounce-Back Effort from Wolves vs. Hawks

wolves hawks

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 4:13 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018 4:13 PM UTC

The Minnesota Timberwolves are fighting for a playoff spot in the West and must beat the bad teams on the schedule like the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Atlanta (21-53, 35-37-2 ATS) at Minnesota (42-33, 33-40-2 ATS)Free NBA Pick: TimberwolvesBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Another eight-game night on the Wednesday schedule, with Hawks-Timberwolves tipping off at 8 p.m. ET from the Twin Cities. We will also have a preview for the ESPN Celtics-Jazz matchup here at SBR.

Minnesota looks to avoid an embarrassing season sweep at the hands of tanking Atlanta. The Hawks ended a four-game skid in the series with a 105-100 win on Jan. 29, rallying from down 11 in the third quarter. Kent Bazemore scored 22 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:09 to play. He’s now likely out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Dennis Schroder added 18 points and 11 assists.

The Wolves’ Jeff Teague was called for a five-second violation on an inbounds play with his team down 101-100 and with 14.5 seconds left; he also was just 1-for-12 from the field. Jimmy Butler had 24 points, Andrew Wiggins had 18 and Karl-Anthony Towns 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Wolves have won four of the past five meetings at home (4-1 ATS) and are 14-12 all-time there vs. Atlanta.

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Worst Loss Of Season For Wolves

The rest of the regular-season schedule is very friendly for the Wolves as they look to avoid a collapse without the injured Butler and make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Here it is: at Dallas (Friday), vs. Utah (Sunday), at Denver (April 5), at LA Lakers (April 6), vs. Memphis (April 9), vs. Denver (April 11). Only the Jazz are currently a playoff team among that group, but the Nuggets are right on Minnesota’s heels.

Then again, perhaps we should assuming nothing when it comes to the Timberwolves. If they miss the playoffs by a game, circle Monday’s unacceptable 101-93 home defeat to the god-awful Grizzlies. They had lost 17 straight road games and 23 of 24 overall – and were without their second-best player in Tyreke Evans. Minnesota had just 11 fourth-quarter points on 3-for-17 shooting. The team is now 6-7 since Butler was lost to a knee injury. His starting replacement, Nemanja Bjelica, had has many points in 22 minutes Monday as I did (zero). Butler seems to be getting close:

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— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 27, 2018
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The Hawks are apt to rest a starter or two in any game the rest of the way as they try to get the most ping-pong balls possible in the draft lottery. Right now, Atlanta has the third-worst record in the league behind Phoenix and Memphis. The Hawks should be only favored once more all season, Sunday vs. Orlando.

This is the final stop on a six-game road trip on which Atlanta is 1-4 following a 118-99 loss in Houston on Sunday. That was over at the half with the Rockets up 24. Taurean Prince scored 28 and Isaiah Taylor had 26 for the Hawks, who have lost three in a row and nine of their last 10. If you can tell me who Isaiah Taylor is, you win a prize (not really).

The Hawks have 12 players on the roster (including two-way deals) with one year or less of NBA experience. Taylor started because Schroder missed the game with a sprained right ankle. He is averaging 19.4 points and 6.2 assists, on pace to become the fourth player in franchise history to average 19.0 ppg and 6.0 apg for a season. Joe Johnson in 2005-06 was the last.

Difficult to trust the Timberwolves right now, but Atlanta is likely to be gassed at the end of the long trip and could be without Schroder again. The Hawks are just 2-9 ATS in their past 11. Minnesota, even with Monday’s choke job, has covered 13 of its past 19 at home. Take the Wolves for a Wednesday NBA pick.

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