Los Angeles Lakers vs Minnesota Timberwolves 12/17/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Matchup Preview (12/17/21)

Minnesota will look to replicate an impressive performance headlined by Anthony Edwards against the surging Los Angeles Lakers at home. Edwards and company will be at a slight advantage from the get-go since the Lakers will be missing several players due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Unfortunately, that is how things have been going in the NBA for a few weeks. However, many superstars will still be available, including Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Below I go into more game-specific information to see if the Lakers can slip by the Timberwolves with limited staff or not.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Odds

COVID protocols have wiped out nearly half of the Lakers’ roster, including Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, and Avery Bradley. None of those players will be available for Friday’s game against the Timberwolves. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have zero players on the injury report, which is quite incredible given the current state of multiple teams regarding COVID.

This is another messy game that is incredibly difficult to predict. Neither team is good against the spread, and they are both wildly inconsistent at times, with the Timberwolves dropping their past three at home, each by double-digits. Until the final injury report comes out, it is just too hard to predict where the line will be and who is and is not playing. I would instead turn my attention towards the point total where the over looks like a good play as long as it is around 215-220. Anything higher may scare me off, but you may get good value because the Lakers are without so many players.

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/17/21
Time: 10:00 PM ET
Arena: Target Center – Minneapolis, MN
Channel: ESPN

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Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Wayne Ellington
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Los Angeles Lakers Analysis

The Lakers have plenty going on; they just signed Isaiah Thomas after a massive 42-point performance in his 2021-22 G-League debut, and it is still to be determined whether he will be available for this bout or not. Surprisingly, they have also won six of their past eight games while LeBron James has taken the lead as primary scorer once again. While it was not in their plans, the Lakers are at their best when he can run the show. Their most recent win over the Dallas Mavericks on the road highlighted “The Big Three” as they played one of their best games collectively all season. At the end of the game, Russell Westbrook made an extra pass in the middle of the lane to an open Austin Reaves, who knocked down the game-winning three-pointer. To me, this play was season-changing; Westbrook has historically been a player that likes to take the last shot, and instead of forcing a shot against a double-team in the lane, he entrusted a teammate that has not gotten a ton of minutes this season with it.

Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Anthony Edwards
PF: Jarred Vanderbilt
C: Karl Anthony-Towns

Minnesota Timberwolves Analysis

The Timberwolves beat the Denver Nuggets on the road a few days after beating the Portland Trail Blazers on the road. For a team with as many ups and downs as Minnesota, it is impressive to see it grab back-to-back road wins convincingly. While the Nuggets and Blazers are not two teams to necessarily be scared of, it is remarkable to see Anthony Edwards come into his own as a star in the NBA. It may only be his second year, but Edwards already has some massive performances, including against the Nuggets, when he had 38 points on a franchise-record ten three-pointers.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Daily Fantasy Picks

It has been several consecutive years that people have thought LeBron James would fall off. Once again, that is not even close to coming true. This was perfectly exemplified by LeBron’s freakishly athletic block against Jalen Brunson and the Dallas Mavericks. LeBron’s head would have smacked the backboard had he taken a different angle on that block. It does not seem like LeBron will slow down any time soon, and indeed not this season. Since returning from an abdominal injury, James has averaged around 29 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, which looks a lot like what he was doing in the late-2000s during his first tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers. We will assuredly never see this again; it is history in the making. Maintaining these numbers over an entire year is probably out of the question, but he knows what he has to do for the Lakers to make the playoffs this season, so his high usage should continue. He is always a great play if you can fit him and his salary into your lineup. This is no different for this game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The tremendously talented second-year phenom, Anthony Edwards, is fresh off a massive performance against the Denver Nuggets. Edwards dropped 38 points on 14-for-21 from the field and 10-for-14 from behind the arc while snagging five rebounds. He set a Timberwolves record for most three-pointers in one game on his way to helping them secure a win against the Denver Nuggets. While it would be unrealistic to expect Edwards to have that type of game consistently, he is a terrific player with significant DFS upside, especially if you start him in a game like the one against Denver. On the season, Edwards averages 22.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, and truthfully, these numbers should continue to rise throughout the season. Minnesota needs to recognize that he is the future of its organization.

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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