Thunder vs. Timberwolves Expert Pick - April 14th, 2023
THUNDER VS. TIMBERWOLVES EXPERT PICK - APRIL 14th, 2023 - The NBA Play-In Tournament has been full of exciting games, which is definitely good news for Adam Silver and fans everywhere.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks won on Tuesday and moved on to be the 7th seed in their respective conferences. Then, the Chicago Bulls stunned the Toronto Raptors in Canada.
The fourth and final play-in game was a thriller, with the 10-seed Oklahoma City Thunder becoming the second such seed (the first two in history) to win in the Play-In. OKC was led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (32 points) and Josh Giddey (31 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists) as Luguentz Dort added 27 in a heartbreaking ending for the Pelicans.
When: Friday, April 14, 2023 at 9:30 PM ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Public Bets: Thunder, 76%
Public Money: Thunder, 58%
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of April 12, 2023
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Minnesota Timberwolves Season Trends
The Timberwolves entered the Play-In Tournament as the 8th seed, but were without Rudy Gobert for the Lakers game after he pinched Kyle Anderson on Sunday and was then suspended. The Wolves also were (and remain) without Jaden McDaniels, who injured his hand after punching a wall in the tunnel.
However, the Wolves gave the Lakers a run for their money and led the game until the fourth quarter. A Dennis Schroder three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left all but ended it. That is, until Anthony Davis uncharacteristically fouled Mike Conley on a game-tying three. Conley stepped to the line and knocked down all three to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, both teams combined for just 14 points, but Minnesota scored just four to lose the game in LA. Yes, the loss of Gobert and McDaniels was evident, but Anthony Edwards was silent, finishing with just nine points on 3-17 from the field and 0-9 from three-point range.
The Thunder tripped into the Play-In as the 10-seed as the Dallas Mavericks packed it in and the Utah Jazz subtly began their tanking efforts. And, with the Pelicans still playing without Zion Williamson, the Thunder walked into New Orleans and got the win.
Brandon Ingram led NOLA with 30 points and seven assists and all five starters finished in double figures. The Pelicans even had the edge in the game in field goal shooting, three-point shooting, rebounds, and assists, but the Thunder got the stunning victory to survive one more day – at least.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Minnesota Timberwolves Head-To-Head & Betting Trends
The Timberwolves are 3-1 against the Thunder this season, although they haven’t played one another since December 16. In the lone OKC win, Rudy Gobert played just nine minutes for Minnesota, and D’Angelo Russell was still on the roster, so a lot has changed since then.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed one of the games at the start of the season, but he averaged 33.3 points per game in the other three, and in all three games, he scored 30 or more points.
The Thunder are feeling terrific after upsetting the Pelicans on the road, and the SGA-Giddey-Dort trio was sensational.
Once again, this game should have a ton of offense. Yes, the Timberwolves scored just 102 points in an overtime loss to the Lakers. But it’s highly unlikely that Anthony Edwards shoots that badly again, and Rudy Gobert’s return should be a boost for this team if the drama can subside.
The Thunder can score with the best of them, so I’ll hammer the OVER here.
As far as the game-winner goes, whoever comes out on top gets the “reward” of facing the Denver Nuggets in the first round. The Thunder stunned everybody by defeating the Pelicans, and I’m sticking with them again – on the road – in another close finish as they make history and advance out of the Play-In Tournament.