Battle of The Worst

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat made a five-player trade just before the start of this season. So far, it hasn't helped either team.

The clubs - which own the two worst records in the NBA - will meet in Miami on Monday night, when either Miami's three-game home losing streak or Minnesota's six-game skid on the road will have to end.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Miami -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 193.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami -9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

On Oct. 24, Miami (6-17) sent Antoine Walker, Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien and a future first-round draft pick to the Timberwolves for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount.

For Minnesota (3-19), the trade was part of a bigger rebuilding project, but Walker is averaging just 10.4 points and 2.4 rebounds. Doleac has played in only five games and Simien was released before taking the court for his new team.

Walker is unlikely to get a warm reception in Miami after Heat coach Pat Riley publicly questioned the forward's conditioning during his two seasons in Miami.

The young Wolves, who also traded away Kevin Garnett in the offseason, have stumbled to the worst start in franchise history. They've lost four in a row and nine of 10 overall and are 0-9 this season against Eastern Conference teams. They're also 1-10 on the road and have dropped four of their last five meetings with Miami.

Their most recent setback was a 95-92 loss at Milwaukee Saturday. Craig Smith and Al Jefferson combined for 53 points and both had double-doubles for Minnesota, but it wasn't enough. Jefferson is averaging a career-high 20.1 points and 11.5 rebounds this season and Smith has two 30-point games in his last four, but both have been in a losing effort.

"We've got to keep playing, man," Jefferson said. "Things are going to turn around for us, hopefully."

Miami has been saying the same thing, but it hasn't happened yet. Davis is second on the team with 15.3 points per game, but the 2005-06 NBA champions have lost two in a row and seven of nine, and are just 5-11 even with Dwyane Wade in the lineup.

They are 2-8 at home this season after losing 106-103 to Indiana there Saturday, when they squandered 24 points each from Wade and Udonis Haslem.

"I keep repeating myself: We don't play defense," Haslem said. "That's our problem."

Despite the poor results Miami has been competitive, with 12 of its losses coming by 10 or fewer points.

"Everybody needs to figure out a way they can help with this, doing something 1 percent better," Wade said. "If everybody does something 1 percent better, we'll be a better team."

Miami last started 6-17 in 2002-03, en route to a 25-57 finish. Last season, they struggled to a 4-8 start but had improved to 10-13 by this juncture. They finished 44-38.

Riley was particularly upset after the Heat fell to the Pacers.

"There's a lot of pain," he said. "It's very painful. Sometimes you wonder. I'm not trying to get on a philosophical bent here, but when you're given everything that you've ever wanted in your profession, you wonder why that you feel such pain. You say why, why give me all this and make me feel pain?"

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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