Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns Preview (11/1/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

The Minnesota Timberwolves (4-3) travel to face the red-hot Phoenix Suns (5-1) on Tuesday night. Minnesota will attempt to forget their 107-98 loss to San Antonio, while the Suns try to maintain their four-game winning streak.

Can the Timberwolves break out of their slow start against a talented Phoenix squad? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Odds

Phoenix is a decent favorite, as the spread is currently -3.5 Suns. At -164, their moneyline hasn’t breached the undesirable -200 threshold. Minnesota’s moneyline is +146, so they must win 41% of the time to be profitable. Meanwhile, the 227 over under total is large for Tuesday games.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction

Although Ayton is out, I’m taking the Suns to cover -3.5 here.

The acquisition of Gobert has significantly bolstered Minnesota’ interior defense, and they have been utterly dominant protecting the rim. However, Phoenix slices apart opponents by taking jump shots with Paul, Booker, Bridges, and Johnson. They can still consistently score on Minnesota by avoiding Gobert and attacking Russell. In addition, Phoenix will bring Gobert out to the perimeter in the pick and roll, and Paul is a skilled enough passer to bypass Gobert.

D’Angelo Russell’s perimeter defense is worrisome against Paul and Booker, who will hunt him mercilessly to bolster shot quality. Minnesota likely must send help, but that will lead to clean looks from three for Bridges and Johnson, who are snipers.

Phoenix’s bench has also surprised offensively so far. Payne provides a decent scoring punch, while Shamet, Lee, and Craig knock down catch and shoot threes. McGee’s departure painted a gloomy depiction of their center rotation, yet Landale has been capable at 10.5 PPG. While Minnesota’s bench is assuredly more explosive, it’s not a complete mismatch.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves offense appears dysfunctional. They played at a rapid pace last season, but incorporating Gobert radically changes their offensive identity due to his allergy to constant fast breaks. Minnesota is still trying to experiment with their offense and strike a balance between their old run-and-gun style and a thousand slow pick and rolls with Gobert. Phoenix is 4th in Defensive Rating, so Minnesota’s shaky offense will not have any leeway for mistakes or inefficiencies.

Overall, Ayton’s absence doesn’t deter me from taking Phoenix over Minnesota because Towns roams the perimeter for jump shots and Gobert doesn’t exploit mismatches down low. Phoenix owns too much chemistry and skill to falter the majority of the time against a Timberwolves team trying to find their identity.

Betting Trends

  • Timberwolves are 2-6 ATS in the last 8 meetings
  • Suns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall

Key Matchups

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

Gobert vs. Biyombo

If Minnesota is going to beat Phoenix (1st in Net Rating), then Gobert has to be aggressive inside and attack Biymobo, a below average starting center at this stage of his career. Gobert usually just scores on lobs and put-backs, but he actually owns a decent hook shot. It’s imperative that he deploys his full arsenal because it’s unlikely Minnesota’s perimeter offense can match Phoenix’s.

Suns Bench vs. Timberwolves Bench

It’s likely that Phoenix’s starting lineup outscores Minnesota’s by 4+ points, so I’m expecting the bench battle to decide whether the Timberwolves cover or not. The Timberwolves bench, led by Nowell, possesses a higher ceiling, but they have been inconsistent to start the season. If they can gain a slight advantage over Phoenix’s second unit, then their chances of covering skyrocket.

Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup

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

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineups

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Cameron Johnson
C: Bismack Biyombo

Key Injuries

Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries: Kyle Anderson (Q), Jordan McLaughlin (Q)

Phoenix Suns Injuries: Deandre Ayton (O), Jae Crowder (O), Torrey Craig (Q), Ishmail Wainright (O)

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.

Hot NBA Matchup Previews Stories