Minnesota has had two days of rest after a narrow victory over New Orleans at home. The team is 7-4 in its last 11 games but still showing the kind of inconsistency that makes it clear the team is not ready to compete against the top teams in the NBA. On a positive note, the T-Wolves have managed to win 4 of its last 7 on the road against pretty good competition. The fact is the team sits in mid-pack in most offense and defensive categories, which indicates they don’t have a real strength. The T-Wolves do have good depth with 7 players averaging double-digits led by Karl Anthony-Towns at 22.4 PPG. However, G/F Robert Covington has been out with a knee problem that has taken away a bit of the team’s athleticism and scoring punch.
Philly Star player Jimmy Butler will get a crack at the team he created so many problems for at the beginning of the season. He has settled in nicely on a powerhouse offense that ranks #4 in the NBA with 115 PPG. This vaunted offense has struggled a bit of late, resulting in a record of 6-4 over the last 10 games. A recent 123-121 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks should serve as a sign the 76ers have a few consistency problems of its own to deal with. C Joel Embiid leads the team in scoring (26.9 PPG) and rebounds (13.3 RPG). Guard Ben Simmons leads the team in assists at 8.2 APG while shooting a very nice 58% from the field, among tops in the league for non-centers. Depth continues to be a problem as the 76ers look tired at times.
Prediction: There’s a lot of bad blood between Butler and his former teammates. It should inspire them to play with a little more pizazz. Since the 76ers have been struggling recently to cover the spread, it looks like an interesting place to take the points. Play Minnesota +6.5 (score – Philadelphia 117 -116)