Rogers' 10* NBA Total MASSACRE >> 17-8-1 L26 NBA! 50-31-1 L82!
Minnesota vs. Philadelphia,
01/03/2017 19:00 EDT,
Score: 91 - 93
Total: -110/+203½ Over
The set-up: There were more than just a few “experts” who expected that the Minnesota Timberwolves would be able to challenge for a playoff berth under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau, heading into this season. However, as the Timberwolves take the court for the second time in 2017, they are just 11-23 on the season, attempting to dig out from the rubble of an unexpected poor start. There were no such expectations for the 76ers at the beginning of the season, especially when the NBA’s most-recent overall No. 1 pick (Ben Simmons), was hurt prior to start of the 2016-17 season. The 76ers host the T-wolves tonight at 8-24, a half-game better than the 8-25 Nets, who own the NBA’s worst record.
Minnesota: Typical of Minnesota’s problems this season was in evidence Jan. 1 at home against Portland, when the T-wolves gave away a 12-point halftime lead on Sunday en route to a 95-89 home loss to the Trail Blazers. C.J. McCollum poured in a career-high 43 points for the Blazers and Portland outscored Minnesota 32-15 in the third quarter to take command. Minnesota is now 9-11 in games in which it has established a double-figure lead. "The thing that is concerning is the big halftime leads that we don't protect," head coach Tom Thibodeau said, "and we don't come out with the urgency and the understanding of playing a whole 48 minutes and how important that is and how hard you have to play." Few teams can match the Minnesota trio of Wiggins (22.1 & 4.2), Towns (21.5 & 11.5) and LaVine (20.9) but the bottom line is, the T-wolves own just 11 victories. A lack of defense is one of the big reasons, as the Timberwolves are 26th in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 108 points per 100 possessions.
Philadelphia: The 76ers know all about the lack of defensive intensity, as Philadelphia is 21st in the league in defensive efficiency (106.0) but then again, the 76ers are dead-last in offensive efficiency at 99.1 PPG, so pick your poison. A bright spot to the season is rookie center Joel Embiid who continues to excel, leading the team and all first-year players in scoring (18.9), rebounding (7.3) and blocked shots (2.4). He has been particularly effective starting alongside veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova (14.8 & 6.6), as the 76ers are a respectable 4-5 when the two start together. That includes last Friday's 124-122 victory in Denver, in which both scored 23 points, allowing the Sixers to salvage the finale of a four-game road trip.
The pick: Minnesota crushed Philadelphia 110-86 at home back on Nov. 17, as Wiggins and Towns combined for 60 points and 20 rebounds. However, the Timberwolves have lacked the maturity to cover as road favorites in the past. That said, I do believe the Over is a strong play in this one (10*s).