As if the hype for the play-in tournament couldn’t get any better, the Timberwolves come in full of drama heading into their matchup against the Lakers. Rudy Gobert got inspired by the UFC PPV and decided to take a swing at his fellow teammate Kyle Anderson in a heated exchange. He’s now been suspended for one game, leaving the Timberwolves as a +8 underdog. Because of this, my prediction is that Gobert’s absence helps open the floor and helps give Minnesota higher quality scoring opportunities.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Lakers Prediction
Timberwolves Vs. Lakers Prediction & Best Bet: Timberwolves Team Total Over 111.5
With the idea of the Timberwolves offense potentially flowing better with more room to work with in the interior, I will take a stab at their team total over as scoring opportunities should come at a higher rate. This is not a knock on Gobert’s offensive game as he is a capable low post scorer, but the Timberwolves offensive identity of playing two low post scoring bigs have drastically halted their ability to find consistent scoring opportunities in the interior.
Especially with Anthony Edwards’ ability to drive in the paint, being met by two bigs who had the benefit of anchoring down low while guarding Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. With Gobert out, we may see Karl-Anthony Towns go back towards a stretch big role to give Edwards the ability to take on his man off the dribble and either finish at the rim or dish out to KAT at the perimeter.
Stretching out KAT also helps the Timberwolves efforts in drawing Anthony Davis away from the rim. Davis is one of the best interior defenders in the league with an elite shot blocking ability. He has no choice but to respect KAT’s ability to knock down the three, taking a step away from the rim in this scheme.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Lakers Betting Odds
As for how Gobert’s suspension affects the game, oddsmakers already had the Lakers as a decent size favorite by opening them as a -7 favorite on their home court. After confirmation on Gobert’s suspension, bettors have flocked towards LA and have taken them up to -8 in some shops. The Timberwolves lose a massive interior defensive anchor in his absence, as well as a lack of depth with Jaden McDaniels being out by breaking his hand. This opens up the interior for the Lakers to consistently attack, giving them higher quality looks at the rim.
As for the total, the over has taken on massive steam since the news of Gobert’s suspension as the total has increased from 227.5 to 231.5 as of writing. The Lakers have struggled on offense with a lack of perimeter shooting, now getting the added benefit of a weakened Timberwolves defense. The Timberwolves may see an uptick in scoring opportunities as well as they now get a more open interior without two bigs crowding the paint.
- Timberwolves are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Los Angeles
- Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Los Angeles
- Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings overall
Can the Timberwolves generate perimeter scoring against the Lakers?
Timberwolves three-point shooting Vs. Lakers perimeter defense
An intriguing potential domino effect with Gobert being out is that the Timberwolves uptick in facilitation should lead to more looks from the perimeter. This will be vital for their team total over as the Lakers currently have the second best perimeter defense in the league per TeamRankings. They have held opposing offenses to a lowly 34.4% from deep.
Minnesota is a slightly above average perimeter shooting unit, shooting 36.5% as a team. With Edwards commanding defensive attention as he carves out a role as a lethal scoring threat, the Lakers will have to shade towards him in their efforts to slow down Minnesota. That leaves the perimeter open in his cuts, giving Conley and KAT ample scoring opportunities from deep.
Should Minnesota capitalize on their newfound open looks from deep, then we are in a good position to cash our over tickets. Let’s just hope we can avoid any more brawls between their own players.
Oh my Rudy Gobert just threw a punch at his own teammate Kyle Anderson pic.twitter.com/6GP5wwkCqW
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) April 9, 2023
With Gobert out for this game, take the Timberwolves team total over as they should find more consistent scoring opportunities with an open interior to work with.
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup
LA Lakers Starting Lineups
Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries: Rudy Gobert (O), Jaden McDaniels (O), Naz Reid (O), Eric Paschall (O)
LA Lakers Injuries: Dennis Schroder (Q)