Brooklyn Nets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Pick & Prediction JANUARY 25th 2024

Karl-Anthony Towns scored a Timberwolves franchise-record 62 points on Monday, but his production on the offensive end was an afterthought because of Minnesota coach Chris Finch’s disgust about his team’s defense.

Two nights later, the Timberwolves did enough on both ends to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. Now they face a quick turnaround Thursday night when they face the reeling Brooklyn Nets in New York.

The Timberwolves are allowing a league-low 107.8 points per game while jockeying with the Oklahoma City Thunder for first place in the Western Conference.

Against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, Minnesota wound up with a 128-125 loss by blowing an 18-point lead and allowing the third-most points and third-highest field-goal percentage to an opponent all season.

Finch described the performance as “disgusting and immature.”

On Wednesday, the Wolves won for the fifth time in seven games, beating the Washington Wizards 118-107 in the opener of a four-game road trip.

“We got cussed out about it, but eventually you got to flush it,” Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards said of Finch’s talk with the team following the Charlotte game. “It was a bad loss and you don’t want to think about it.”

On Wednesday, Edwards matched his second-highest point total of the season with 38, scoring 15 in the fourth quarter. He was held to nine points on Monday. Towns added 27 following his historic showing. The Wolves survived allowing the Wizards to hit 48.1 percent from the field by scoring 32 points off 21 turnovers.

Minnesota was particularly stronger in the second half against the Wizards. After trailing by two at halftime, the Wolves outscored Washington 33-19 in the third quarter and 61-48 in the second half.

“We upped the ball pressure in the second half, which was key,” Finch said. “The third quarter looked a lot more like us defensively. I’m proud of the guys for that.”

The Nets can hardly be proud of their recent performances, as they are on a 2-11 skid since back-to-back wins over the Detroit Pistons. They are 4-16 in their past 20 games. Brooklyn is also struggling to close out games, as it was outscored 104-53 in the fourth quarter of its past three losses.

On Sunday, the Nets held an 11-point lead but were outscored 22-0 in the final 5 1/2 minutes of a 125-114 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. On Tuesday, Brooklyn carried a nine-point lead into the fourth but got outscored 32-18 and wound up with a 108-103 loss to the New York Knicks in the opener of a five-game homestand and a run of 10 out of 11 games at home.

“I thought, overall, the shots that we did get (late in the New York game) were shots that we made throughout the course of the night,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Unfortunately, we went on a little cold streak in the fourth, but a big part of that was their ability to put pressure on us and offensive rebounding.”

Vaughn made those comments after his team followed up shooting 71.4 percent in the third by shooting 30.4 percent in the fourth — a period in which the Nets were outrebounded 16-10, allowed nine second-chance points and got outscored 16-4 in the paint.

Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges hit a career-high seven 3-pointers and scored 36 points but also finished with just three points in the ill-fated final quarter. Cameron Johnson added 19, but the forward was listed as questionable for Thursday due to a bruised left shoulder.

–Field Level Media

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