The Brooklyn Nets have rotated their best players in and out of the lineup, but will almost be at full strength on Monday against the Timberwolves. Kyrie Irving will return from his week off to reunite with James Harden and new teammate Blake Griffin, kicking off a run of three games in four days, all in Brooklyn. Against the lowly Timberwolves, will the Nets start the week off right? Or will they hit a snag? We’ll tell you where to look at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets
Monday, March 29, 2021 – 10:00 PM ET at Barclays Center
The Lone Bright Spot
Anthony Edwards is just about the only thing going right for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the moment. Okay, they’ve got a star center in Karl-Anthony Towns as well, but the emergence of the rookie has breathed life into an otherwise dead franchise this season.
The Georgia product has really been heating up of late, averaging more than 35 minutes and taking full advantage of the playing time with 24.8 points and 5.4 rebounds on 42.3% shooting. He’s added scoring at another level for Minnesota, who has simply relied on Towns to do it all down low. The rookie’s been able to pull out the defense and attack it inside as well, wreaking havoc at times and piling up some gaudy numbers in the scoring department.
The three-point line has been a huge sore spot for the Timberwolves this year. They’re shooting it at just 34.6%, which ranks 26th in the league, and they give up the three-ball at a 38.6% clip, which ranks 28th in the NBA. Minnesota’s also 21st in rebounding and 23rd in points per game, though they do rank eighth in points in the paint on average (49.3).
The Timberwolves sit at a disappointing 19-26-1 against the spread this season, and just 9-13-1 away from Minnesota. Though a 12-point spread should provide them plenty of an opportunity to cover, this team is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven games. Things are trending in the wrong direction.
Kyrie and The Beard Return
The Nets will be welcoming back Kyrie Irving into the fold for this game after the star point guard had the last week off due to personal reasons. It will be a welcomed sight for Brooklyn, who has actually played more minutes without Irving off the floor this year than with him. In those minutes with Kyrie, the offense is scoring 8.5 more points per 100 possessions, while the defense has improved by 0.5 points as well. The team has also run at a much faster pace, increasing from 100.41 to 101.49.
Another player returning is James Harden, who has returned to form. The former league MVP is gunning for the award once again, on an absolutely torrid run over his past five games. During that span, Harden’s gone for 30.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 8.0 rebounds on average, shooting just 25% from three. That’s right — he’s scoring so much inside and getting to the line so much, he hasn’t even needed his elite three-point shooting.
Against the Timberwolves, Harden should see the return of his range. I touched on how bad this unit was at stopping threes earlier, but the defense as a whole has been awful. Minnesota ranks fourth-worst in efficiency at 114.2 points per 100 possessions, not too far off the record-setting pace established by the Kings.
The play of Harden and the return of Irving should mean this Nets team blows the doors off of the Timberwolves. Brooklyn has covered in just two of its last eight, but it’s been incredibly short-staffed, and aside from Kevin Durant and Landry Shamet, they’ll be at full strength here. Brooklyn’s incredible depth on the wings and its ability to shoot should cause the Timberwolves to start from an adverse position in this one, and they should never recover. Some renewed energy in the paint with Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton on defense should help combat the Timberwolves’ interior scorers, which is just about all it has on offense at the moment. On the betting sites, I’m comfortable laying the points here with the Nets at home.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.