Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Preview (10/28/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

After a horrendous opening stretch, the Los Angeles Lakers (0-4) seek their first win against the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2). LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are probable, but the Lakers may have to play without Anthony Davis, who experienced lower back tightness last game. For Minnesota, the only injury listed is Kyle Anderson, who remains questionable.

Will the Lakers finally register a win? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are found below.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Odds

Minnesota is a heavy favorite, as the spread has settled at -7 Timberwolves. The +240 Lakers moneyline means they must theoretically prevail here 30% of the time to be profitable. Meanwhile, the 229.5 over under is one of the largest lines for Friday contests.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction

Despite the large line, I’m taking Minnesota to cover the -7 spread.

The Lakers plainly cannot shoot the basketball from range. So far, they own a team 22.3 3PT% on 37 attempts per game. While Westbrook in particular has been awful (8.3 3PT%), LeBron has also produced a 25.7 3PT% on 8.8 3PA. His age is showing, as he seems content to settle for pull up jump shots rather than continuously drive and absorb the contact. If Los Angeles cannot produce in the paint, then it’s exceedingly likely that their jump shots will not allow them to keep pace with Minnesota.

Enter Rudy Gobert – the best rim protector in the NBA. He not only obliterates shot attempts, but he deters them from happening in the first place. The Lakers must also contend with Jaden McDaniels’ rim protection, and Towns is 6’11”. It’s unknown how Los Angeles will score when Gobert patrols the paint and they simply miss their perimeter shots. Minnesota may go the Portland route and literally leave Davis on the perimeter to shoot jump shots.

Defensively, the Lakers are ill-prepared to handle the Timberwolves and don’t always give maximum effort. Against the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic was killing them on fast breaks by simply running. Yes, you read that correctly – Jokic looked like a blur compared to Davis, LeBron, and others jogging back on defense. If Davis’ back tightened up, then it’s reasonable to assume he couldn’t fully sprint. But there is no excuse for the rest of the lineup allowing this to consistently happen. In addition, they now face a Minnesota squad that ranks 4th in pace. Look for the Lakers to be crushed in transition opportunities.

On a matchup basis, the Lakers will struggle to handle Minnesota’s explosiveness. Blossoming superstar Anthony Edwards is a walking mismatch for the Lakers backcourt, and D’Angelo Russell remains a threat at 17.2 PPG and 6.2 APG. Meanwhile, because Towns draws LeBron away from the basket, Davis is on an island in the paint trying to defend drivers and lob threat Rudy Gobert. The Timberwolves bench is also far superior to the Lakers, so Los Angeles cannot expect to close the gap in those minutes.

Overall, Los Angeles is 30th in Offensive Rating, and Minnesota isn’t a desirable matchup for them in terms of pace and personnel. When also considering Davis may not even play and the Timberwolves have home-court advantage, taking Minnesota to cover is the best bet.

Betting Trends

  • Lakers are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings
  • Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings

Key Matchups

Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Jaylen Nowell vs. Kendrick Nunn

Nowell is a 6MOY candidate who just produced 23 points on 9/13 shooting. He’s an electric off the dribble scorer who has playmaking capabilities. On the other hand, Nunn leads the Lakers bench in scoring at 5.5 PPG on a 29/23/– shooting split. If Los Angeles has any chance of matching Minnesota’s bench production, then Nunn absolutely must produce a monster game and outscore Nowell.

LeBron James vs. Rudy Gobert

If the Lakers are going to win this game, then they require a vintage performance from LeBron. His pull up shooting isn’t effective, but his drives remain lethal due to his size and impressive speed. Can he be aggressive inside when Gobert lurks? If Gobert neutralizes every Laker in the paint – including LeBron – then I don’t see them cracking 100 points. It’s imperative that LeBron decrease his average shot distance from the rim and take higher percentage shots instead of settling.

Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Lonnie Walker IV
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineups

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Anthony Edwards
SF: Jaden McDaniels
PF: Karl-Anthony Towns
C: Rudy Gobert

Key Injuries

Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: LeBron James (P), Russell Westbrook (P), Anthony Davis (Q), Dennis Schroder (O), Thomas Bryant (O), Cole Swider (O)

Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries: Kyle Anderson (Q)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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