San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Date and Time: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Spurs vs. Timberwolves TV Coverage: ESPN
A win over the Warriors a little over a week ago moved the Spurs into a tie for the best overall record in the Association, but that was short-lived after San Antonio’s two-game slide dropped them in the standings. Losses at home to Portland and at Memphis were the first back-to-back defeats in almost two months and just the third time the Spurs have lost consecutive games this season.
Getting LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker back in the lineup helped San Antonio avoid its first three-game skid of the season as the Spurs defeated Sacramento 118-102 on Sunday night. They had most of their lineup together for the first time in a while but were without Manu Ginobili, who sat for rest. One thing the Spurs would like to have down the home stretch is a healthy roster and continuity with their rotations. The club has missed Pau Gasol and Tony Parker at various times due to injury, and LaMarcus Aldridge recently returned after sitting with an irregular heartbeat.
The Wolves had a recent stretch where they won seven of 10 games with Golden State, Washington, Utah and the Clippers among their victims. It was a positive sign for the club and showed progression under first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau while also getting them back in the playoff race. But all that was ruined when the Wolves came up empty in the win column in a just completed three-game road trip.
Thibs is known for having stingy defenses, but his team couldn’t stop anything in losses to Boston, Miami and New Orleans. The Wolves allowed an average of 121 points in those three contests with no fewer than 117 in a game. For a team that was on the verge of breaking through, it was a disastrous trip. They went 0-3 ATS in those games and the over cashed in their last four.
The Timberwolves made a move to get into playoff contention and were closing the gap just a week ago. However, a winless three-game trip set the club back and put a damper on their postseason aspirations. The team is still confident it can make another push, but this game with the Spurs looks to be critical. It’s the only Wolves home game before they embark on another three-game trip that will take them to the Lakers, Portland and Indianapolis.
Those are three winnable games but the Wolves would like a little confidence boost before heading out again. And they’ve been close with the Spurs the last two meetings. Minnesota dropped a tough overtime game in San Antonio a few weeks back, blowing an eight-point fourth quarter lead before being outscored in the extra session of the 97-90 loss. In mid-January, the Wolves led at halftime before bowing 122-114 in San Antonio. They haven’t learned how to close games out against good teams and getting one could put them over the hump.
Spurs vs. Timberwolves Free Picks
The Wolves had their faint playoff hopes crushed during a winless road trip where the defense was horrible. A staple of Thibodeau coached teams is defense and when the Wolves needed a gutsy effort on the road, they came up empty. And trying to end the skid against the Spurs is even more of a chore. San Antonio is getting some pieces back and Gregg Popovich said he will play his guys with a minutes restriction to get them ready for the postseason.
The Spurs will be favored but check back for odds at BookMaker.eu to get latest line. The Wolves were crushed on that road trip and they are a fragile group with their season hanging in the balance. They can respond with a big game or continue their free-fall. I’m going with the latter especially considering the competition.
Spurs vs. Timberwolves ATS Pick: Give the points with San Antonio at BookMaker.eu
Spurs vs. Timberwolves Score Prediction: Spurs 114 – Timberwolves 105