After an impressive three-win road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers will return home on Sunday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In their last outing, the Lakers blew out the Portland Trail Blazers after handing a similar loss to the Utah Jazz in their respective buildings.
The Wolves are only 10-11, currently sitting at seventh in the western conference. However, they do pose a unique threat to the Lakers due to their star big man, Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is quietly having an MVP-caliber season (minus the team success so far), averaging 26.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
In particular, his incredible 3-point shooting (43.4 percent on 8.7 attempts a game) will be a major factor if he is guarded by the likes of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard who often struggle to step out on the perimeter. The Lakers may opt to play more minutes with Anthony Davis at center solely to counteract KAT’s flamethrower-like ability from behind the arc.
The Wolves may not be a one-man show, however. After years of disappointing results from former number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins, the young wing player has seemingly turned a corner this year. Wiggins is effectively playing point guard for the Wolves this year (Jeff Teague willingly gave up his starting role to play off the bench) and having quite a bit of success. The 24-year-old is averaging career-highs across the board with 24.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. His shot profile has also improved tremendously as he has been driving more and shooting more 3-pointers in place of midrange jumpers.
Wiggins is currently listed as questionable to play against the Lakers with a thumb injury.
The Lakers, meanwhile, come into this game fresh off their most impressive stretch of basketball. After a long winning streak against mostly inferior competition was broken in a blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the team responded in a championship manner with huge wins in Denver, Utah, and Portland. They are currently the only team other than the Milwaukee Bucks in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating and boast the third-best net rating in the league behind the Bucks and Mavericks.
Sunday night’s matchup could be a high-scoring game with Towns and the Wolves posing a matchup problem for the Lakers’ bigs while the Lakers have been pouring on the points the last three games, averaging 117.9 points per 100 possessions on the road trip.
The Lakers host the Wolves on Sunday at 6:30 PM.