|Minnesota Timberwolves||Denver Nuggets
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Jameer Nelson||Even|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Gary Harris||Nuggets|
|SF||Andrew Wiggins||Danilo Gallinari||Nuggets|
|PF||Kevin Garnett||Kenneth Faried||Even|
|C||Karl-Anthony Towns||Joffrey Lauvergne||Timberwolves|
Zach LaVine, Tayshaun Prince, Gorgui Dieng,
J.J. Hickson, Darrell Arthur,
Will Barton, Nikola Jokic, Randy Foye
Injured players: Wilson Chandler, hip (out), Jusuf Nurkic, knee (out), Emmanuel Mudiay, ankle (out), Darrell Arthur, knee (probable)
1) All About That City Life: The Nuggets need to make the Timberwolves go away from Karl-Anthony Towns. Sam Mitchell doesn't like bringing their most recent first-round draft pick back in the game if Towns is in foul trouble, so attacking the young center on defense and hounding him on offense is key. If he can get going, he has a really high ceiling, so it's best to have him dominate the bench instead of dominating on the court.
2) Rebound and push: Without Emmanuel Mudiay, the Nuggets should be trying to push the ball down the court and get easy transition buckets. Will Barton is just outside the top 10 in transition opportunities this season, and he's scoring 1.32 points per possession on transition plays, according to NBA stats. That's the eighth-best mark in the league, in the same territory as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Getting Barton the ball in transition is great offense, and the Nuggets will need points tonight.
3) More Gallo at power forward, thanks: The Nuggets have been playing Gallinari at power forward more often that late, and it's making a difference. He is such a threat to stretch the floor and be a playmaker, and he gets to the free throw line when the ball is in his hands. If Kostas Papanikolaou is able to play 15 minutes at small forward, and not be an open door on defense, the Nuggets can turbo-charge their offense for a stretch and make a run. When they get a lead, they can bring Kenneth Faried back in the game to rebound missed shots and run pick and roll to attack the basket.
Prediction: Minnesota 106 - Denver 99. My string of luck on recaps ran out against the Orlando Magic, and I'm not feeling very lucky tonight either. I think it'll be close, but the Nuggets guards won't have the gas to stop Andrew Wiggins late. I do hope that I'm wrong.