Minnesota Favored Hosting Seattle
The Minnesota Timberwolves continued their push for a playoff spot by getting a game-winning basket from leading scorer Kevin Garnett in their last contest. The Seattle SuperSonics’ postseason fate was essentially sealed the same day with the news that top scorer Ray Allen is done for the year.
The Northwest Division rivals meet for the second time in five days on Tuesday when they conclude their season series with a matchup at the Target Center.
Oddsmakers have made Minnesota -6.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 187.5 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Minnesota
-6.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Minnesota (30-39) is 11th in the Western Conference, 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff berth. Seattle (27-42), meanwhile, is 6 1/2 games behind the Clippers in 14th place.
The Sonics will play the rest of the season without Allen, who decided to undergo surgery on his left ankle. The All-Star guard has been bothered by inflammation in his ankle from bone spurs and initially tried to play through the pain, but has missed the last three games.
"I’ve dealt with playing with pain before but when you start dealing with biomechanical things that may determine or affect how you play or how your body is able to work then that’s when we get put in the situation we’re in here," said Allen, who is averaging a career-high 26.4 points.
Damien Wilkins has been inserted into the starting lineup in Allen’s place, averaging 10.3 points over the last three contests. Seattle struggled to find its offense without its leading scorer Sunday, shooting just 36.6 percent en route to a 120-79 loss to San Antonio.
The 41-point loss was Seattle’s worst at home since a 44-point defeat to Dallas in 1985. Luke Ridnour scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead only three players in double figures.
"It felt like we were battling from 15 points down the whole game," said Ridnour, who is averaging 6.0 points in his last five meetings with Minnesota. "A team like the Spurs, you get down like that and they know what to do."
Seattle was also down in its last meeting with the Timberwolves on Friday, but outscored them 19-7 in the final 4:10 for an 85-82 victory. Rashard Lewis scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Sonics while Garnett was held to 10 points, but grabbed a season-high 22 rebounds.
Although Seattle has taken two of three meetings between the teams this season, the Timberwolves have won three straight and 13 of the last 16 matchups at home. Minnesota is 20-13 at the Target Center this season and has won its last three games there, including a 94-93 victory over Portland on Sunday.
Garnett hit a 15-foot fadeaway jumper over four Portland hands at the buzzer, and finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.
"I really couldn’t see over the hands, so I sorted of faded back a little bit, got it up, and it went in," said Garnett, who is averaging 12.3 points versus Seattle this season – 10.5 less than his average.
The Timberwolves shot 55.1 percent from the field Sunday and had six players score in double figures, including rookie reserve Randy Foye, who scored 13 of his 17 points in the final quarter.
"I do think Randy is getting more comfortable coming off the bench," Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said. "He knows when he comes in he can attack, and that’s what I want to keep this kid at."
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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