MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (1-1)
at BROOKLYN NETS (1-0)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Brooklyn -8, Total: 193.5
Deron Williams and his teammates in Brooklyn are looking to stay undefeated at the Barclays Center as the new-look Nets will take on the banged-up Timberwolves on Monday night.
Minnesota will be playing a chunk of its upcoming games without All-Star PF Kevin Love and playmaking PG Ricky Rubio. Rubio is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season while Love broke his right hand in the preseason. And now PG Jose Juan Barea, who leads the team with 15.0 PPG, is questionable for Monday after suffering a hard fall on his head on Sunday. The absence of these players leaves the Timberwolves short-stacked with talent and in a bad position when they go into Brooklyn to play the Nets, who beat Toronto 107-100 in their season opener. This is the same Raptors team that crushed the Wolves 105-86 on Sunday night.
Can Toronto retain its dominance over Minnesota on Sunday? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. Last year, StatFox Dave won 62% ATS Best Bets in the regular season and was 5-0 ATS in the NBA Finals. StatFox Brian finished 59% ATS Best Bets in the 2011-2012 regular season. This season, all four experts are 50% ATS or better in Best Bets. StatFox Scott has started 8-2 (80%) in NBA Totals while StatFox Brian is 9-3 (75%) in NBA Totals.
The Timberwolves are not off to a good start this season. They held on to beat a weak Sacramento team 92-80, but in their first test against decent competition in Toronto, they turned the ball over 24 times and were blown out, 105-86. They allowed Raptors PG Kyle Lowry to score 22 points and that is not a good sign as they’re going against an even better point guard in Deron Williams. If the Timberwolves will have any chance in this game, they’ll need SG Brandon Roy to look like the Brandon Roy from Portland just a few years back. That is highly unlikely however considering Roy is averaging just 7.0 PPG on 4-of-17 FG (24%) on this young season compared to the 19.0 PPG (46% FG) he averaged over five seasons in Portland. C Nikola Pekovic is a bruiser and can work the boards, but without Kevin Love in the lineup to take some attention away from him, he’s been a non-factor on the glass with just eight rebounds over two games.
The Nets, on the other hand, looked great in their home opener against Toronto. C Brook Lopez, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, looked as good as ever putting up 27 points and five rebounds in the Barclays Center grand opening. SG Joe Johnson had 14 points, five boards and four assists, and looks to be a nice fit next to Deron Williams as he is a very good spot shooter who thrives playing off the ball as well as being able to handle his isolation assignments. With these three stars shining in their first game, the solid role players the Nets have in SF Gerald Wallace (10 points, six rebounds and four assists in opener) and PF Kris Humphries provide depth that undermanned Minnesota will find difficult to match.