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The Week Ahead | Late Start, Plus A West-Coast Trip
Wolves vs. Spurs, 8:30 p.m.
ESPN, FS North, 830 WCCO
Why you should attend: Note that this is a late start. But the game is being nationally televised on ESPN. Make a crazy sign. Maybe you’ll be on TV! Plus, as I type this on Sunday at 2:36 p.m., the Spurs are 2.5 games back from the first seed in the West with 14 games left. Unlikely they’ll catch Golden State, but you never know. Plenty to play for on both sides with the Wolves trying to stick in the playoff hunt.
Opposing player I’ll be watching: David Lee plays for the Spurs. Did you know that? The former fringe star has redefined his career since moving on from Golden State. He’s a solid player for the Spurs, too, averaging 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.6 minutes off the bench. He’s the perfect Spursy Spur.
Wolves at Lakers, 9:30 p.m.
FS North, 830 WCCO
Why you should watch: The teams have a lot of similarities with such young cores and first-year head coaches with their respective clubs in Tom Thibodeau and Luke Walton. There’s a pretty good chance that in three years from now, this will be a very real rivalry (again) in the Western Conference.
Opposing player I’ll be watching: The Lakers decided to rest their veterans for the rest of the season, seeing what they have with the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. Out of that group, Ingram probably has the highest ceiling, although he’s struggled a bit in his rookie season, averaging 8.7 points while shooting 39 percent from the field. He needs to add weight, too. Going up against Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins will be a huge test for him on both ends of the court.
Wolves at Trail Blazers, 9 p.m.
FS North, 830 WCCO
Why you should watch: A lot can happen, obviously, but right now, the Wolves are 4.5 games back from the eighth seed in the West while Portland is just 1.5 back. No matter what happens this week, one of these teams will still be clawing for that eighth seed and the Denver Nuggets. Whether the Wolves are fighting for the playoffs or trying to play spoiler, it should be an entertaining one against Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
Opposing player I’ll be watching: Center Jusuf Nurkic is a new man with the Blazers. In 13 games (12 starts), Nurkic is averaging 13.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. To put that in perspective, in 45 games with the Nuggets prior to being traded to Portland, he averaged eight points and 5.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game. Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng will have their hands full against this grizzly bear of a man.