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San Antonio Spurs vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

Written by: Christian Jope
Updated October 14, 2022
6 min read

How to Watch

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

When: Friday, January 18th, 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, CW35, Fox Sports North |

San Antonio Spurs (Away)

Head Coach: Gregg Popovich {All-Time 1222-561 | SAS}

The San Antonio Spurs have come together by the midpoint of the NBA season. With a record of 25-20, their early-season troubles are behind them and they are primed to a make a run into the top four of the Western Conference.

After a double overtime win where the Spurs posted 154 points, they went on to lose two to the Thunder and Hornets. They take on the Timberwolves on the second leg of a two-game road trip in hopes of getting back on the winning track.

The Timberwolves are a tough team for the Spurs to match up against. They are strong on the inside and outside, but they are currently hampered with injuries. If the Spurs can get off to a quick start, it is unlikely the Wolves bench will be able to make up the difference.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Home)

Head Coach: Ryan Saunders Interim {All-Time 2-1 | MIN}

The Minnesota Timberwolves are clawing their way back up the lower ranks of the Western Conference. With a record of 21-22, they are steps away from taking another leap into the Western Conference playoff race.

The Wolves have put together a nice run as of late. With wins over the Lakers, Thunder, and Pelicans, the Wolves have shown they still have the talent to compete with the West. While they have injuries to a number of key players, the Wolves starting unit has been able compensate in recent games.

They will be facing of with the San Antonio Spurs who have been the model for offensive and defensive efficiency over the past decade. If they Wolves can’t put together a game plan to penetrate the Spurs defence, it’ll be a long night for the young stars.

What’s At Stake?

The San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves meet again in an intra-conference matchup. In the all-time series the Spurs have dominated the Timberwolves 88-30.

A win for the Spurs would give them sixth place in the West, overtaking the Los Angeles Clippers.

A win for the Minnesota Timberwolves would bring them back to .500, but keep them in place in the Western Conference.

Questions to answer

Can the Spurs compete on the inside?

Can the Wolves score efficiently?

We are going to compare the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Spurs are 23rd in Blocks, 29th in Steals

The Spurs have always played a disciplined defence predicated on communication and intelligence navigating screens and off-ball movement. Where they lack in individually astounding defenders, they make up for with excellent rotation.

The Wolves are a team with two dangerous isolation weapons in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. On the wing and in the post, there aren’t many in the league that can stop either. If either of the Wolves’ young stars get their rhythm early, they’ll hope the supporting cast can’t convert when help is sent.

The Spurs rarely cheat and outside of Jakob Poeltl don’t have a true rim protector. But as they’ve proven time and again, positioning is just as valuable as on-ball play. If the Wolves can’t break down the Spurs defence, it should be a quick night for San Antonio.

The Wolves are 21st in Field-Goal Percentage

The biggest criticism of the Minnesota Timberwolves should be that they play without an interest in swinging the ball. Five different players are assisted on less than 50% of their shots, including Derrick Rose who gets a pass because he is forced to play with the Wolves’ bench unit.

The Wolves still get scoring from a number of sources as seven of their players average double digit scoring. Despite that diversity, most of it is from one-on-one drives or post ups. The only true role players contributing notably are the Philadelphia acquisitions Covington and Saric.

They will have to move the ball against the Spurs. The San Antonio defence is disciplined if not starring any one All-NBA defender. Towns and Wiggins should still be able to initiate their offence, but it will be tough for the Wolves to pull off a win if they can’t break down the Spurs.

San Antonio Spurs Roster Notes

F Rudy Gay – Out (Sprained Left Wrist) – The Spurs have listed Gay as OUT for Saturday’s game (Jan. 12) against the Thunder.

G Dejounte Murray – Out For Season (Knee) – After having successful surgery to repair his torn ACL, Murray is currently rehabbing with the hope of being ready for the 2019-2020 season.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roster Notes

F Robert Covington – Out (Ankle) – There is no timetable for Covington’s return, according to interim head coach Ryan Saunders.

G Derrick Rose – Day To Day (Right ankle sprain) – Rose was ruled OUT for Saturday’s (Jan. 12) game against the Pelicans.

G Jeff Teague – Day To Day (Ankle) – Teague reaggravated his ankle injury in Saturday’s game (Jan. 12), according to Dana Moore of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Head-to-Head: Demar Derozan vs Andrew Wiggins

Demar Derozan

Shooting Guard | 6-7, 220lb (201cm, 99kg) | USC | Exp. 9 Years

22.1 PPG | 6.4 APG | 6.2 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.5 TOV | .466 FG% | .175 3P%

Andrew Wiggins

Small Forward | 6-8, 194lb (203cm, 87kg) | Kansas | Exp. 4 Years

17.8 PPG | 2.1 APG | 4.3 RPG | 1.1 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .426 FG% | .336 3P%

Demar Derozan and Andrew Wiggins are two of the most dangerous scoring options on the wing in the NBA. If Wiggins is the athletic marvel that NBA commercials dream of having, Demar Derozan is the refined version that nine years of NBA experience produces.

Demar Derozan is not only the Spurs’ main playmaker, he is one of their most deadly options in isolation. While the Spurs abhor one-on-one play, he is incredibly capable in a pinch. It seems the San Antonio Spurs have unlocked his full potential, as he is averaging career highs in almost every category other than scoring.

Andrew Wiggins has undergone an entire offseason of criticism regarding his work ethic, motivation, and love for the game. If you want to measure those criticisms against his statistics, it doesn’t make too much sense. Not a deadeye three-point shooter, Wiggins is a capable scorer that excels in transition whom the Spurs must do their best to slow down.

San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Minnesota Timberwolves favoured over the San Antonio Spurs by 1.5, with an over/under of 110.

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Christian Jope

1357 Articles

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

Email: [email protected]

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