nba
01.03.2024

Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves Game Preview and Pick: Edwards Continues to Shine

The second half of the season started on a high note for the Sacramento Kings, but they have since dropped two straight games. Following a blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets, in which they scored under 100 points, the Kings are walking into another tough defensive matchup tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

At the end of the day, offense is not the primary concern for the Kings moving forward, it is instead their defense, which I think will have a hard time defending Anthony Edwards on the perimeter tonight.

Game Preview

Defending their home court has come easy to the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, and lucky for them, they are amid a seven-game homestand. While they did drop their first game out of the break to the Bucks, the T-Wolves have rattled off three straight wins.

The quality of their opponents over their three-game winning streak may not have been the strongest, but Minnesota’s premier-level defense was on full display in all three games. According to Cleaning the Glass, Minnesota is second in the league since the break in points allowed per 100 possessions in non-garbage time (102.3).

One of the biggest things that separates Minnesota from other defenses in the league is their ability to defend both the perimeter and the paint at a high level. Over the last ten games, the T-Wolves are allowing the 3rd fewest points in the paint per game (44.6) and the 3rd lowest opponent three-point percentage (33.4%), per NBA.com.

Of those two strengths on the defensive end, guarding the paint will be the most vital tonight for Minnesota since Sacramento is getting 47% of their points from inside the paint over their last ten games. While they may prefer to do their scoring inside the paint, scoring, in general, did not come easy to the Kings in their most recent loss to the Nuggets, primarily because De’Aaron Fox missed the game with a knee injury that has him questionable for tonight as well.

Fox is in the 88th percentile in the league for usage rate, per Cleaning the Glass, so without him in the lineup, the Kings needed to rely more on their bench to provide scoring as Malik Monk and Chris Duarte, outscored three starters, in the loss to Denver.

Pick for the Game

For as good as their defense has been since returning from the break, the Timberwolves offense is still trying to get in a groove. While the rest of the team fights to get on track, Anthony Edwards seems to already be on track, as he has dropped 34 points in consecutive games. Not only has he had two straight 30-balls, but Edwards has a favorable matchup tonight against the Kings' defense, which is why I’ll be taking him to go over 2.5 threes at (-106) on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Edwards has cruised past this number in ten of his last 15 games, as he is not afraid to get his shots up from beyond the arc, with an average of 8.5 attempts per game over his last ten games. When these teams last met, Edwards finished the game over tonight’s total, and Sacramento may have gotten worse at defending the three since then.

Over their last ten games, the Kings rank 28th in opponent three-point percentage at 43%. Sacramento is just one of four teams that have allowed a three-point percentage over 40% in that span, and in that same ten-game span, they are allowing the highest shooting percentage on corner threes (49.4%) and the 4th highest shooting percentage on above-the-break threes (40.4%).

Recap

  • Anthony Edwards Over 2.5 Threes (-106) on FanDuel

*odds subject to change

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