The Minnesota Timberwolves will try to win their fifth game in a row when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
This is the back end of a home-and-home series between the teams.
On Sunday night, the Timberwolves held on for a 111-105 win at home over the Mavericks. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Minnesota, and D’Angelo Russell added 22 points while shooting 4 of 7 from long distance.
As for Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. provided a bright spot with 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting. But the Mavericks were hindered by injuries and illnesses, and they will remain short-handed as they prepare to tip off in Texas.
Luka Doncic is expected to miss his fifth game in a row because of right ankle soreness. Teammate Kristaps Porzingis is questionable to play because of a sore right toe.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks announced Monday that Maxi Kleber had joined Reggie Bullock and Josh Green in the league’s health and safety protocols. Kleber played nearly 31 minutes on Sunday, finishing with six points and a team-high 14 rebounds.
Hardaway said he and his teammates were trying to stay vigilant with COVID-19 on the rise.
“Just stay safe and do your best to try to get ready for games,” Hardaway said. “Obviously, everybody sees it. But we can only control what we can control, and that’s going out there with the guys we have and playing hard.”
The Timberwolves also have dealt with uncertainties because of COVID-19. Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince have missed two games in a row as they wait to be cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols.
On Monday, more bad news arrived for Minnesota, as Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt also were forced to enter health and safety protocols. Another player, Josh Okogie, entered the protocols shortly before Sunday’s game.
Minus Beverley and Vanderbilt, the Timberwolves will be without two of their top defenders. Vanderbilt in particular has come on strong this season, averaging a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game to go along with 6.1 points, 1.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks.
“The real calibration is how his teammates respond to him,” Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said. “His teammates love to watch him play. They know he has their back. They’ll make mistakes. He can cover for them.
“He’s not looking to score. He’s just looking to defend, get rebounds, make hustle plays and keep playing no matter what. No matter how many times he gets hit in the face, he keeps playing.”
Teammates have appreciated Vanderbilt’s hard-nosed approach.
“If you don’t pay attention to him, you’ll look up and he’ll get six offensive rebounds in two possessions, you never know,” Russell said. “I think he’s bringing awareness around that position, not just in the league but just as any young player that’s trying to model their game or (doesn’t) realize there’s other ways to get to it versus trying to be the Steph Currys or the LeBrons. You can be ‘Vando’ nowadays, and it can get you a lot of money.”
Dallas is 7-7 at home this season. Minnesota is 6-6 on the road.
–Field Level Media