Off to a 6-3 start, the Minnesota Timberwolves are becoming the team many felt they could be once the Kevin Love-Ricky Rubio tandem was surrounded by sufficient talent. Even when their chief third banana Kevin Martin was sidelined through illness on Wednesday, the feel-good factor continued with a 29-point rout of Cleveland.
It’s no accident that the T-Wolves have the third-biggest winning differential in the NBA of +8.5, just behind Indiana and San Antonio. What is surprising is that they’re scoring 108.2 points per night (2nd overall) while also shooting relatively poorly with an Adjusted Field Goal percentage of 48.4%.
That can be explained by the peculiar dynamic that Love, who is averaging 27.1 points per night, is a beast in the paint (as well as from three-point range) and leads the league on the Win Share rating of any player, which measures individual contributions to team victories. While Rubio is still an entirely inconsistent scoring threat from outside, despite his assists aplenty.
Minnesota visit the Denver Nuggets on Friday night and with Martin set to return, you might expect the Timberwolves – who are -1.5 on the handicap – to prevail. But the struggling Nuggets are doing a solid job at limiting opponents to 43% shooting and they’ve also got the benefit of their special home advantage. So have a punt on the Nuggets for the win at 2.00 and go under the total points line of 210, available at 1.91.
The Portland Trail Blazers are off to an excellent start also and they’re 1.75 to win on their trip to the Boston Celtics. One of Portland’s big keys has been three-point shooting as well as limiting opponents from long-range. However, that perimeter defence has been one of the C’s key strengths so have a look at this game staying under the total points of 194.5 at 1.91, even if Portland roll on.
Take Denver for victory over Minnesota at 2.00
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