The Minnesota Timberwolves have been mighty impressive lately as they are currently on a five-game winning streak, hoping to extend it to six games as they visit Florida to battle the Orlando Magic. The Magic, on the other hand, are facing the complete opposites as they are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, the longest in the league right now.
This matchup will mark the second and final time that these two ball clubs will face each other this season. The Timberwolves and the Magic have met up a grand total of 56 times in the past as the Minnesota team won 21 games while the Magic ended up winning 35 games. November 22 was the last time they played each other as the Timberwolves pulled away with a 124-118 victory. During that game, Jimmy Butler scored 26 points, pulled down 3 rebounds, dished off 3 assists, and committed 2 steals. Aaron Gordon finished the game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and one steal.
Justin Patton (toe)
Cole Aldrich (coach’s decision; 0.7 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.1 APG, 42.9 FG%)
Aaron Brooks (coach’s decision; 2.5 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 42.0 FG%, 33.3 3P%)
Marcus Georges-Hunt (coach’s decision; 1.1 PPG, 0.2 RPG, 0.1 APG, 52.4 FG%, 28.6 3P%)
Shabazz Muhammad (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 37.6 FG%, 21.1 3P%)
Anthony Brown (G-League)
Amile Jefferson (G-League)
Jonathan Issac (ankle; 5.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.7 APG, 40.5 FG%, 27.8 3P%)
Terrence Ross (knee; 9.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 40.7 FG%, 32.9 3P%)
Nikola Vucevic (hand; 17.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 49.1 FG%, 34.3 3P%)
Marreese Speights (personal; 7.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.7 APG, 37.1 FG%, 35.5 3P%)
Jamel Artis (G-League; 1.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 23.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
The beginning of the game would be competitive as the Minnesota Timberwolves shot forty-five percent from the field in the first half while the Orlando Magic ended up shooting thirty-six percent. Karl-Anthony Towns warmed up with 12 points while getting his hands on nine rebounds. Former Bulls’ forward Taj Gibson scored eight points on fifty percent shooting while Jimmy Butler earned seven points, three rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks. Gorgui Dieng played 10 minutes off of the bench as he dropped five points.
As for the home team, Evan Fournier chalked up 12 points with two three-pointers in the first quarter. Khem Birch scored 10 points off of the bench while grabbing seven rebounds for himself. Aaron Gordon settled for nine points while Elfrid Payton was kept to just two points. Mario Hezonja played the most minutes off of the bench but only had five points as Minnesota had a tight 48-47 lead.
The Florida team would have the upper hand in the second half as they shot fifty-four percent from the field, limiting the Timberwolves to forty-three percent. Fournier continued to add to his scoring total as he collected 20 more points while draining four three-pointers. Bismack Biyombo chalked up eight points while collecting five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and 2 blocks.
As for the Minnesota squad, Butler earned 21 more points while shooting fifty-three percent from the field. Taj Gibson had ten points but it was the Orlando Magic who managed to slip away with a 108-102 victory. Evan Fournier finished the game with a career-high 32 points, along with two rebounds, and 3 assists. Jimmy Butler settled for 28 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will head to Texas to fight James Harden (32.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 9.1 APG, 45 FG%) and the Houston Rockets (30-12) on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. This will mark the first of four matchups between these two ball clubs this season. The Timberwolves and the Rockets have battled each other a total of 115 times in the past as the Rockets won 75 games while the Timberwolves pulled 40 wins.
The Orlando Magic will travel to Ohio to take on LeBron James (27.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 8.8 APG, 56 FG%) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (26-17) on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. This will be the third time that these teams will play each other, leaving just one more matchup after this. They have played each other a total of 110 times as the Cavaliers won 57 games while the Magic won only 53 games. The last time they met up was on January 6 when the Cavaliers pulled away with a 131-127 victory. LeBron James finished that game with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 6 steals, and one block while Aaron Gordon had 30 points, 8 rebounds, one assist, and 2 steals.