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NBA play-in preview and tips: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers meet as equals in Tuesday’s Eastern Conference play-in game, but they could hardly be in more contrasting positions.

The Lakers are absolutely surging with eight victories in their last 10 regular season games, including two wins over one of the play-off favourites Phoenix Suns, as well as beating the Timberwolves 123-111.
Minnesota threatened to unravel in the most dramatic of fashions during their final must-win game against the Pelicans, when Rudy Gobert was ejected after swinging a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson.
Luckily, the Wolves managed to see out the game, winning 113-108, but it got worse after the final whistle. Key defensive piece Jaden McDaniels took his frustrations out on a wall post-game and suffered a broken hand.
It is worth noting that the Timberwolves are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against the Lakers and they have won five of those games outright. They've also relished the role of underdog, going 18-8 ATS.

Being without Gobert, McDaniels and even big man Naz Reid changes things a lot. Gobert is a big contributor on defence, McDaniels is a potential All-Defensive Team candidate and being without Reid hurts their depth.

Suggested Bet: LA Lakers -7

Slowing down LeBron James and Anthony Davis is no easy task even with a full complement of players. The Lakers rank sixth in the NBA in points in the paint per game and things should get easier without Gobert protecting the rim.
The Lakers might not figure much at the top end of the NBA's defensive rankings, but there's no doubt they went up a level when Jarred Vanderbilt joined the team.
The Laker's seasonal average reads 114 points per game against at home, but since Vanderbilt joined the team, that has dropped to 109 ppg against while holding eight teams to 108 or less.

Standout Trends

Team News

The Timberwolves will be without Rudy Gobert for this game as he serves a one-game suspension due to disciplinary issues. Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid miss out through injury.
The Lakers are expected to field a full-strength team that includes Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

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