The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped three consecutive games for just the second time this season. See if we believe they can get back into the win column tonight with our Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves predictions and analysis below, featuring our best bets and each team’s projected starting lineup!
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction
Through one-third of the 2023-24 regular season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been nothing short of dominant, winning 20 of their first 26 games and holding a 2.5-game lead over second place in the Western Conference. The continued ascension of shooting guard Anthony Edwards, combined with the improved interior play from Rudy Gobert, has proven to be just what the T’Wolves needed to achieve relevancy. This is an extremely deep team, with a handful of uber-talented frontcourt players and a superstar starting at the two-guard spot.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles has dropped three straight games, two of which came to below .500 teams by double-digits (Chicago and San Antonio.) Making matters worse, the Lakers just ruled LeBron James out due to a lingering ankle injury, leaving Anthony Davis to carry the workload against one of the league’s premier frontcourts (Jaden McDaniels, Rudy Gobert, and Karl Anthony-Towns); they all stand between 6-foot-10 and 7-foot-1 and are extremely physical.
Eight points is a lot to lay against a formidable Western Conference team, but without LeBron James on the floor, Anthony Davis is going to be forced to have a monstrous offensive game; KAT, Gobert, and McDaniels will just alternate on him defensively, throwing different defensive looks and schemes at him, though. The T’Wolves are allowing the ninth-fewest points and fewest rebounds to opposing centers, and even though Joel Embiid just popped off for a 51-point outing last night, the circumstances were vastly different.
For one, Minnesota played on the road, where it has held a defensive rating of 114.9; it is a completely different story at home, though, as the Timberwolves boast a defensive rating of 101.7 this season. That is not a typo. They are that incredible on the defensive end of the floor at home, and it shows in their record, as they only have one loss on the season (11-1) in front of their fans.
Additionally, Joel Embiid is again playing MVP-caliber basketball, averaging roughly 35 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists; he also had much more help in his last game than AD will have in this one. Embiid can lean on Tyrese Maxey’s playmaking and the rest of the starting lineup’s shooting to ensure he doesn’t receive too much attention defensively. Davis will be swarmed because the Lakers are a poor three-point shooting team (34.4% from deep, 25th in the NBA), and Minnesota can pack the paint, forcing them to take threes, which opponents have not done well (29.0% from three) at the Target Center.
Short of giving Davis a rest day, too, the Lakers could hardly punt this game more than they already are in this spot. The Wolves should run away with this one.
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction: Timberwolves -8 (-110)
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Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Best Odds
Minnesota is a huge eight-point home favorite against Western Conference foe Los Angeles on Thursday night. The Lakers have +270 Moneyline odds to sneak away with a win and snap out of their three-game losing streak, while the Timberwolves are -340 to take care of business on their home floor. The point total hangs around 223.5 points, as of Thursday morning, with the Over and the Under each holding odds of -110.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries
Currently, two players are listed on the Los Angeles Lakers’ injury report: rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, who is dealing with a back injury, and LeBron James (ankle.) Still, JHS is not a part of the regular rotation, so the Lakers won’t miss too many minutes while he heals. Meanwhile, Minnesota will continue to miss Jaylen Clark (Achilles); however, it seems that every other player on the Timberwolves’ roster will be available.