Sports

Scouting Report | Wolves at Mavericks

The Game

The Timberwolves remain on the road for the second night of a back-to-back to take on the Mavericks in Dallas on Monday night.

The Wolves are coming off a 128-116 loss to the Nuggets on Sunday evening. Minnesota was without D’Angelo Russell in that game due to planned rest. Russell will play on Monday night.

Minnesota goes into the game with a 16-39 record, 14th in the West.

The Mavericks are coming off a 111-107 loss to the Hawks on Saturday – although Dallas was without both Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Both are expected to play on Monday night.

Dallas goes into the game with a 34-23 record, seventh in the West. There’s plenty of positioning for the Mavericks to fight for, though. They are just 3.5 games back from third place in the conference and five back from second.

This is the second of four matchups between the two teams this season. The Mavericks beat the Timberwolves 121-114 in Dallas back on Dec. 4.

What: Wolves at Mavericks
When: 7:30 p.m. CT, Feb. 24
Where: American Airlines Center
Watch: Fox Sports North 
Listen: 830 WCCO

Luka-Mania

What a season it’s been for second-year guard Luka Doncic. Doncic went from Rookie of the Year to MVP candidate and a likely All-NBA member. In his second season, Doncic is averaging 29 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game – all up from a season ago. His 53.8 effective field goal percentage is also up 4.1 percent from last season.

How will the Timberwolves stop him? We’ll see if Josh Okogie plays more on-ball defense against Doncic. Okogie is Minnesota’s best perimeter defender and we’ve seen him get in the face of big-time players (hello, James Harden!) over the years.

The problem with that, however, is then you ask Russell to match up against bigger players like Dorian Finney-Smith or Tim Hardaway Jr.

It sounds easy, but if Minnesota can force Doncic to have a bad night, winning becomes a whole lot easier.

2-Way Star

It took point guard Jordan McLaughlin some time to find his rhythm, but Minnesota’s backup point guard looks like a legit NBA player.

McLaughlin is coming off a 15-point, 10-assist performance against the Nuggets. In two starts this season, he’s averaging 19.5 points and 10.5 assists per game while shooting 4-for-8 from the 3-point line.

While he’ll come off the bench on Monday night, he’s been a fun story to watch this season.

In what has been stressed as a development year for this franchise, McLaughlin just might be the best example of that.

Injury Report:

Wolves: Jake Layman (toe) and Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) are out.

Mavericks: Luka Doncic (ankle) is probable. Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) is questionable. Jalen Brunson (shoulder) and Dwight Powell (Achilles) are out.

Projected Starters:

Wolves: PG—Russell, SG—Beasley, SF—Okogie, PF—Hernangomez, C—Reid

Mavericks: PG—Doncic, SG – Hardaway Jr., SF – Finney-Smith, PF – Kleber, C – Porzingis

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