MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (40-40)
at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (49-31)
Tip-off: Monday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Golden State -8, Total: 210
The Warriors host the Timberwolves Monday night in a game that still means a lot in terms of seeding in the Western Conference playoffs.
Minnesota may not be in the playoffs, but the team is still playing hard and looking to finish the season over .500. The Wolves have won-and-covered in four of their past seven games after Saturday’s 112-110 victory over the Rockets. They are, however, coming off of a bad loss on the road to the Kings on Sunday. Golden State is also coming off a road defeat on Sunday, falling 119-117 at Portland, and has now dropped two of its past three games. The Warriors hold the sixth seed in the Western Conference right now but they could still finish lower, so this victory would be huge. These teams have split two meetings (SU and ATS) this season with the road club prevailing in both contests. The most recent game was a 121-120 victory for the Timberwolves in Oakland on Jan. 24. Over the past three seasons, the Warriors hold a 7-2 SU edge (6-3 ATS) in this series, but they have split wins (SU and ATS) in the past four games at home. Over the past three seasons, Golden State is 25-11 ATS (69%) in April games, but the team is only 15-24 ATS (39%) after an ATS win this season. Although C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) has been downgraded to doubtful for Monday, SG Kevin Martin (foot) has been upgraded to probable for Minnesota. The Warriors could also be short-handed, as both C Andrew Bogut (ribs) and SF Andre Iguodala (rest) are considered doubtful for this matchup.
Can the Warriors win handily on Monday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts are finishing the regular season strong at 53.2% ATS (59-52-5) in NBA Best Bets since March 9. StatFox Zach is a stellar 67% ATS (16-8-1) in NBA Best Bets since March 9, while StatFox Gary has remained hot with a 56% ATS mark (22-17-1) in Best Bets since Feb. 13. StatFox Dave has a profitable 55% ATS (51-42-3) NBA Best Bets record since Dec. 1, while StatFox Brian is 54% ATS (30-26-2) in Best Bets since Jan. 25.
The Timberwolves are coming off of a 106-103 loss to the Kings in which PF Kevin Love (26.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 4.3 APG) went off for 43 points (12-of-23 FG) while grabbing 11 rebounds. In two games against the Warriors this season, Love is averaging 25.5 PPG, 15.0 RPG and 7.0 APG. He should be poised for yet another huge game as he’ll be up against David Lee, who just returned from a hamstring injury. One player who has really come on strong at the end of the season is C Gorgui Dieng (4.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG). Dieng has seen plenty of time as a starter recently, and in the past five games he is averaging 13.2 PPG, 13.0 RPG and 2.0 BPG. Dieng had 21 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in the loss to the Kings. PG Ricky Rubio (9.4 PPG, 8.6 APG, 4.2 RPG) will have a very important matchup with Stephen Curry in this one. Over the past five games, Rubio is averaging 14.4 PPG and 8.8 APG. Rubio, however, had zero points in the loss to the Kings and will need to score with SG Kevin Martin (18.9 PPG) possibly slowed by his foot injury. SF Corey Brewer (12.2 PPG) followed up a 51-point performance with just 10 points in the loss to the Kings. He could be an X-factor in this one, as the Timberwolves will need plenty of points to keep up with Golden State's offense.
The Warriors are coming off of a tough road loss in Portland, but must forget fast and look towards a big game against the Timberwolves on Monday. PG Stephen Curry (23.9 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.3 RPG) had 47 points and five assists in 45 minutes against the Trail Blazers, but it wasn’t enough to get his team a victory. Curry is averaging 19.0 PPG and 11.0 APG in two games against Minnesota this season. SG Klay Thompson (18.5 PPG) has been excellent so far in the month of April, averaging 22.6 PPG (50% FG). Thompson should be in for a big game with the Timberwolves playing short-handed. Thompson had 25 points in the loss against the Blazers, and is averaging 24.0 PPG in two games against Minnesota this season, even when his opponent did have its full roster. PF David Lee (18.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG) returned from a hamstring injury on Friday and had 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Lakers, but followed up that performance with just four points and four rebounds against the Blazers. Lee will need to play at a high level if the Warriors are going to make a run in the playoffs, and these remaining games will go a long way in helping him build his confidence.