Nobody wants to be the team that loses to the worst team in the NBA. Bet the Minnesota Timberwolves are feeling a little anxious about suffering that fate.
Defeat for the Philadelphia 76ers tonight would see them equal the worst start in league history of 0-18, equalling the pitiful Nets edition of 2009.
All form suggests the Sixers sorry streak will continue for a while yet, with an averaging losing differential of 14.4 and a roster depleted of leading scorer Tony Wroten and, quite probably, Nerlens Noel.
Yet Minnesota have ample troubles of their own amid a 4-12 start. The injury-hit Timberwolves have lost 10 of their last 12 starts, feeling the losses of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nik Pekovic in what is the worst possible beginning to Flip Saunders’ second spell as head coach.
They’re also giving up a huge 111.2 points per game, 30th and last in the NBA, with their two offseason acquisitions from Cleveland, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett not yet catching fire.
Wiggins, the number on Draft pick last summer, is putting up 11.8 points per game, hardly Rookie of the Year numbers, while his fellow Canadian, top choice in 2013, is landing 7.6 points per night, up from last term but doing little to remove the bust label.
The T-Wolves, favoured by -6.5 on the handicap at 1.85, have showed a little promise at times, including when they led the Clippers on Monday after one quarter after losing by 26.
But they’re young, untested and inconsistent.
If Philly was at full-strength, this might be a recipe for an upset with the 76ers at a generous 3.45 for victory. Yet as good a chance as this might be to avoid historical ignominy, even a beat-up Minnesota look like an All Star squad by comparison.
Best bet: Go under 205.5 total points in Minnesota-Philadelphia at 2.95