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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Preview: A Northwoods Face-off

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A Minnesota team that welcomes a new coach to town heads to Milwaukee

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NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Think the Milwaukee Bucks are scuffling? Well, the Minnesota Timberwolves fanbase has a retort:

“Hold my McGolden.”

Scuffling is the tip of the Twin Cities iceberg for this franchise, which just can’t seem to correct course in the years since Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston. Milwaukee is angling to pounce on their issues and corral a third straight win.

Where We’re At

Milwaukee fans finally have breathed a sigh of relief after dispatching several of the worst teams the Western Conference has to offer. Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings are competitive, but those weren’t sure W’s given the Bucks struggles of late. After an abysmal shooting night across the board against the Thunder, they put 128 on the Kings’ worst-ranked defense in the league. Giannis led with 38 points and 18 boards in just 33 minutes, while Khris Middleton emerged from his slump for 32 points. Despite a horrid shooting night from newly minted starter D.J. Augustin, they came away with a victory.

In Timberwolves land, things are shaking. Following their 99-103 loss against the New York Knicks, Ryan Saunders was relieved of his head coaching duties. While there were no immediate plans to name an interim head coach Minnesota moved swiftly following the firing, hiring away assistant Chris Finch from Nick Nurse’s Toronto Raptors squad.

I wouldn’t expect to see any box-and-one installed for this tilt, but there was clearly a need for a new direction in Minnesota after they fell to 7-24 overall. Who knows if Finch is the answer, but I have to imagine fans there were agitating for change. Thankfully, there’s nowhere to go but up. The Wolves rank third to last in offense and bottom-ten defensively. Number one overall pick Anthony Edwards has flashed athleticism, but he’s struggling overall at just 37.5% shooting from the field.

Jarrett Culver and D’Angelo Russell are out for the Wolves.

Player To Watch

Malik Beasley has played up to the 4-year, $60M deal that Minnesota inked him to this offseason. He’s second on the team in points per game, shooting nearly 40% on 8.5 3-point attempts per game. As a solid complementary piece, he seems like the kind of role player who could theoretically punish the Bucks from deep. Here’s hoping Milwaukee can curtail any hot shooting night from the veteran guard.

Poll

Game 32: Against the Timberwolves, Milwaukee will...

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (119 votes)
  • 11%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (18 votes)
  • 7%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (3 votes)
152 votes total Vote Now

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