Bucks must win turnover battle vs. Wolves

Ball security will be crucial Thursday night, when the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

The Wolves commit just 11.8 turnovers per game at home, the best mark in the league. However, the Bucks are adept at takeaways away from home. The Bucks force an average 16.4 turnovers per road game, second in the league.

The two teams are near the top of the league in turnover differential per game.

Team TO Diff./Game
Timberwolves 3.4
Thunder 3.2
Mavericks 2.0
Bucks 1.9
Pacers 1.9

It’s the Bucks’ best effort since the 2009-10 season, and the Wolves best since 1998-99. Both teams have excelled at turning those turnovers into points.

Milwaukee ranks third in points off turnovers per game on the road, while Minnesota ranks third in the league in points off turnovers at home.

Team Points off TO (road)
Hawks 19.8
Raptors 19.4
Bucks 19.3
Team Points off TO (home)
Thunder 19.9
Jazz 19.2
Wolves 19.1

If those figures cancel out, the Bucks will need to stop the Wolves’ new superstar to make up the difference. Jimmy Butler is one of the league’s top scorers in the fourth quarter — fourth in the league at 6.7 points per game — thanks to his success at the free-throw line.

Player Team FTM in 4Q
Jimmy Butler Wolves 107
DeMarcus Cousins Pelicans 88
Anthony Davis Pelicans 82
Lou Williams Clippers 79
Kemba Walker Hornets 78

Other notes:

— The Bucks are 6-1 against the Timberwolves since the 2014-15 season, their third-best record against any opponent over that span.

— Khris Middleton is making 39.4 percent of his 3-point attempts against Western Conference teams this season.

— Giannis Antetokounmpo became the youngest player since 1985-86, tied with LeBron James, at 23 years and 54 days to record 6,000 points, 2,500 rebounds and 1,000 assists in his career.

— Minnesota’s Karl Anthony-Towns has recorded a double-double in 10 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents, the longest such streak by any NBA player against an opposing conference this season. However, the last time he didn’t have a double-double vs. an East team was against Milwaukee on Dec. 28.

Statistics courtesy of STATS