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The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their final pre-season game, losing 129-127 in overtime. While the additional period gave some extra playing time to the rookies, it was Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. who led in scoring with 20 and 18 points respectively. Karl Anthony Towns led his team with 20 himself, though he sat for much of the second half with foul trouble.

The starters quickly raced to an 11-3 start, thanks to a couple Hardaway Jr. three’s. Minnesota took the lead with three minutes left in the quarter, though, as the Mavericks went a little cold and Karl Anthony Towns and rookie Cheap Anthony Edwards Jersey found their rhythm. The starters came off the floor at the two minute mark, and trailed 37-33 to end the first.

The bench struggles continued in the second, as they couldn’t stop easy buckets by the Wolves and made some “it’s preseason” errors. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle eventually put his starters back in around the seven minute mark. The Mavericks took the lead with around two minutes left thanks to another Hardaway Jr. three pointer, and a late 14-2 run put them up 68-61 at the end of the half.

The second half started off pretty choppy with Minnesota racking up various fouls, putting KAT on the bench with five fouls, seemingly the only way to stop him. The Mavericks starters maintained their seven point margin with continued distance shots and perfect free throw shooting. After a great dish by Doncic to Powell for an and-one dunk, the lead was pushed to 10. The Mavericks then hit four unanswered threes to push the lead to 98-83 after three quarters.

A strange-ish lineup of Burke, Brunson, Johnson, Cauley-Stein, and Lee opened the fourth, and some careless errors and turnovers allowed the Wolves to close the Mavericks lead to seven midway through the quarter. By then, Carlisle began to unload the bench, and a more talented cast of Wolves tied the game at 112 each with two minutes left. With 4.5 seconds left and time for one last Mavericks shot to win the game, rookie Tyrell Terry had his elbow jumper blocked, giving us pre-season overtime!!

The Mavericks went with the same Boban + four rookies lineup in overtime, and they hung on to the Wolves’ lead with free throws and letting Boban work in the paint. Missed Wolves free throws gave the lineup another chance for a final shot. Boban attempted a three to win the game, but it unfortunately rimmed out.

With so much unknown about the Minnesota Timberwolves going into the season, Vegas might be undervaluing the Wolves.
With the 2020-21 NBA season nearing, now is the most popular time for sports bettors to make their futures bets for the upcoming season, and there may be some value in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Sportsbooks across the country will be taking bets for the NBA title winners, season-long win totals, MVP and other award winners, and more over the coming weeks leading up to opening day on Dec. 22.

The Timberwolves provide a unique opportunity for bettors as a team whose roster has spent very little time on the floor together, creating a lot of unknowns for fans and bettors. What will the starting lineup look like? How will Karl-Anthony Towns perform early on in the season? What will be Anthony Edwards’ role?

Despite this uncertainty, this is a very important season for the Wolves. After sharing the court just one time last season, Towns and D’Angelo Russell will finally be able to show the NBA what they are capable of as a duo.

This season is also important because of the team’s lack of a first-round pick in the next draft, as the Wolves’ 2021 pick was traded to Golden State last season. If the team doesn’t do well, the Warriors will be left with a high pick in the first round of next year’s draft, and the Wolves walk away with a poor season and nothing to show for it.

The league hasn’t seen what D’Lo and KAT can do yet, which has also contributed to the amount of uncertainty surrounding the Wolves. This uncertainty has created opportunities for sports bettors who have confidence in D’Lo, KAT and the Wolves this coming season.

It is very possible that sportsbooks are undervaluing the Wolves, and for sports bettors, this at least warrants taking a look at some futures bets before the season starts.

With that said, let’s go through some Timberwolves-related futures bets that might be worth taking. And, of course, If you choose to gamble, please gamble responsibly and legally.

The Luka of Old returns
For the most part, this is a pretty great thing, given what we saw during Doncic’s sophomore year. However, some of his more frustrating tendencies reappeared today, in contrast to what we saw versus the Bucks. He goose-egged from the three point line, missing six attempts. In response, he began to pass up open three point shots he would’ve taken in the Bucks games, opting for the drives to the basket that we saw with growing frequency towards the end of last season. That being said, he was great from the free-throw line, going 8-of-9.

He also continued to chirp at the refs, frustrated by no-calls on many of his shots, to the point where he received a technical in the third quarter. Reminder, that’s his second technical of the PRE-SEASON. It’s safe to say that last year the refs just didn’t know how to handle his style of play at times. We’ll have to see if that changes this season, and if it doesn’t, how Luka responds to that adversity.

The hot shooting from deep continues
One thing that did transfer over from the Bucks games was the insane 3-point shooting across the board (besides Luka). The Mavericks finished 20-of-44 from distance, exemplified by a stretch in the third quarter of four unanswered threes. What might be the most impressive thing about that run is that they were hit by four different players: Kleber, Finney-Smith, Richardson, and finally the newly appearing Courtney Lee.

It is RARE for multiple high-volume players to shoot more than 50 percent from three over multiple games, and that’s what we saw in the preseason. Hardaway Jr., Finney-Smith, Kleber, and Richardson went a wild 14-of-19 from three today, and it’s spelled great things for all four of them going forward. Richardson specifically has shown he can provide much of the shooting the Mavericks lost with Seth Curry’s departure.

Powell struggled against opposing bigs
Dwight Powell, coming back from an Achilles tear, has reassured Mavericks fans thus far in the preseason with his movement and vertical for the most part. He’s also continued to be a dangerous lob threat playing with the likes of Doncic, and even has been willing to shoot (and make one) three’s when left open.

His defense against opposing bigs, from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brooke Lopez previously to Cheap Karl-Anthony Towns Jersey tonight, has left much to be desired. KAT simply overpowered him on several occasions in the post for easy layups or dunks. At other times, he’d leave Powell in the dust with a pump fake that Powell would always react to, opening a lane to the bucket. Powell’s biggest defensive advantage lies in his perimeter help defense and general athleticism, but when put on a single big in the post, he has neither the length or the size in most cases, and the Mavericks paid for it on many plays.

Powell’s place in the starting in the starting lineup has been and will be a topic of debate among MFFL’s, with folks like WCS, Kleber, and Cheap James Johnson Jersey in the mix, but it looks like for the time being Carlisle intends to keep him there. We shall see how these questions are answered once the season begins.

The Mavericks will open the season on Wednesday, Dec. 23 against the Suns in Phoenix.

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Minnesota Timberwolves training camp is underway, and the Wolves have also announced a series of new hires and promotions.
The Minnesota Timberwolves began training camp on Sunday. They also announced several new hires and promotions on their coaching staff and in the front office.

Let’s catch up on the most notable staffing changes, plus pass along some notes coming out of training camp.

Minnesota Timberwolves add Rudy Tomjanovich, others to team’s payroll
We noted the (virtual) presence of soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Rudy Tomjanovich back during the pre-draft process.

The article by ESPN’s Royce Young focused on Rudy T’s thoughts related to a potential frontcourt pairing of current Wolves star Cheap Karl-Anthony Towns Jersey and prospect James Wiseman, but evidently, Tomjanovich’s presence went beyond his take that one potential scenario.

The Wolves have now officially announced the addition of Tomjanovich to the front office as a player personnel consultant, along with a host of other moves.

Tomjanovich, of course, won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 as head coach of the Houston Rockets. He had a 503-397 record over 12 seasons in Houston and coached a half-season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004-05. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

The Wolves also added Joseph Blair to the coaching staff as an assistant. He was with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, for several seasons and was the head coach in 2018-19.

Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns is still grieving the death of his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, and opened up about the losses his family has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Towns said he “hasn’t been in a good place” since his mom was hospitalized with COVID-19. She died from complications of the virus April 13.

In addition to his mom, Towns said he’s had six other family members die from COVID-19: “I’m the one looking for answers to try to keep my family well informed and make all the moves necessary to keep them alive.”

He said he doesn’t think playing will be a form of therapy for him because having his mom and other family watch him play basketball brought him a joy that will no longer be there:

Jon Krawczynski
KAT on returning to play after losing his mother and six others to COVID, including an uncle just last night.

In their statement announcing Cruz-Towns’ death, the Timberwolves noted she had been suffering from COVID-19 “for more than a month” when she died:

“Jackie was many things to many people—a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. The matriarch of the Towns family, she was an incredible source of strength; a fiery caring, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone she met. Her passion was palpable and her energy will never be replaced.”

Towns has spoken openly about how difficult it has been for him and his family in the eight months since she died at the age of 59.

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“I think for me, I think if I was to say how am I coping and how am I healing from this, I’m trying to heal myself through others,” he told Eric Todisco of People last month.

Even before his mother’s death, Towns was using his platform to help during the pandemic. The two-time All-Star announced March 15 a $100,000 donation to support the Mayo Clinic’s rollout of a test used to detect COVID-19.

There were several other additions as well, both in the basketball operations department and in other areas of the front office.

Ryan Saunders talks about Minnesota Timberwolves frontcourt rotation
The Minnesota Timberwolves suddenly have myriad combinations to consider in their frontcourt. As training camp got underway on Sunday, head coach Ryan Saunders spoke to the possibilities.

For those asking about Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: I think RHJ wasn’t named by Saunders because he is on a non-guaranteed contract.

Personally, if RHJ makes the team, I see him in more of a 5 role — maybe 4.5 next to KAT.

— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) December 6, 2020

We’ve talked here at Dunking With Wolves about the likelihood of Cheap Jake Layman Jersey playing quite a bit at the 4, providing more defensive versatility and athleticism than Juancho Hernangomez.

The idea of Cheap Josh Okogie Jersey playing the 4 isn’t something we’ve heard before, but it isn’t shocking. Okogie’s height and wingspan will play, and his ability in transition and as a cutter on offense and versatility on defense will give him a chance to earn some minutes there.

Saunders also implies that Cheap Ed Davis Jersey will play more behind Towns at the 5 than alongside KAT at the 4. Surely, it will depend greatly on matchups, as will minutes for both Cheap Naz Reid Jersey and Cheap Jarred Vanderbilt Jersey.

NEXT: 2020-21 Wolves staff roundtable predictions
Perhaps we’ll get a better sense for Saunders’ rotation as early as this Saturday when the Wolves open their preseason schedule against the Memphis Grizzlies.