National Basketball Association
Nets-Timberwolves Preview
National Basketball Association

Nets-Timberwolves Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 1:42 p.m. ET

The Brooklyn Nets don't often present matchup problems but are coming off one of their better offensive efforts of the season.

They're also heading into a meeting with a team that seems incapable of limiting anyone, and Saturday night's stop in Minnesota threatens the Timberwolves with their seventh losing streak of at least four games this season.

Making its sixth stop on a season-high nine-game trip, Brooklyn (18-44) needed overtime for Friday's 121-120 win in Denver but shot 50.5 percent and made 13 of 22 from 3-point range.

Over a 6-6 span during the last month, the Nets have averaged 105.1 points on 47.8 percent shooting overall and 44.1 from beyond the arc after managing 95.6 on 44.7 and 32.8 in 50 games until that point.


"We had so many great looks from 3 over the course of the game," Brook Lopez told the team's official website. "Definitely in the first half and it really opened things up for us and got us a lot of stuff inside."

That included Lopez's tip-in with 0.4 seconds left in overtime as the Nets, whose next stops are Toronto and Philadelphia, gave themselves a chance to match or improve on the four away wins they had in 23 games before this trip in a single road stretch.

They're also trying for consecutive wins of any kind for the second time in six games after going their previous 35 without stringing wins together.

That's due in part to some fresh faces contributing. Markel Brown scored a career-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and hit 3 of 4 from long range with eight rebounds and seven assists, while Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points and is averaging 17.2 in five straight games as a starter.

"I was just playing in the flow of the game," Brown said. "The bigs set awesome screens, there was a road to the basket and I was able find on the pocket pass. We made open shots and it opened up the inside."

Minnesota won 100-85 in Brooklyn on Dec. 20 behind 24 points and 10 rebounds from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Since the start of February, the Timberwolves (19-43) have allowed an average of 112.3 points in 13 games - all ending in regulation - on 48.7 percent overall and 38.4 from 3-point range. The last six have hit at least 10 3-pointers, and the Bucks went 14 of 24 in Friday's 116-101 final in Milwaukee. Minnesota's last three opponents have shot at least 50.0 percent overall.

"They have to understand, every single night you've got to earn it, you don't get to sleepwalk your way through 20, 25 minutes of the game and then decide you've got to play," coach Sam Mitchell said.

There's also the matter of turnovers with Minnesota averaging 17.7 in the last six games, including a season-high 26 against the Bucks.

"That's something that obviously we've got to fix," said Towns, the February Rookie of the Month who's averaged 21.4 points and 11.9 rebounds over his last 19 games.

"You can't beat teams like this, especially a team that was a playoff team last year, looking to be a playoff team this year, with those kinds of mistakes happening over and over and over again."

Zach LaVine has started the last four games and averaged 19.0 points.


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