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Scouting Report | Wolves at Magic
The Wolves will conclude their four-game road trip in Orlando with a Friday night game against the Magic.
The Wolves earned a thrilling 129-126 win in Miami on Wednesday night after making several clutch plays in crunch time. It was the first time since 2009 that the Wolves came back from facing a 10-point deficit with under five minutes to play.
The win improved the Wolves’ record to 17-40, good for 14th in the Western Conference standings.
The Magic are currently on a two-game winning streak after defeating the Atlanta Hawks 130-120 on Wednesday. They enter Friday’s game with a 26-32 record, which has earned them the eighth-place spot in the East.
The Wolves and Magic have yet to face off this season. After Friday, they’ll meet at the Target Center on March 6 for their second and final matchup of the season.
Offense On The Rise
Before the trade deadline, the Wolves were shooting 32.5% from 3-point range, which was a league-worst rate. Back then, the Wolves were also attempting 39.4 3s per game, good for third-most in the league.
Fast forward three weeks and both of those statistics have improved.
In their eight games since the trade deadline, the Wolves are attempting 43.3 3s per game, which ranks just behind the Houston Rockets who average 46.5 3PAs per game.
And as the volume of 3s taken rises, so does the Wolves’ accuracy.
The new Wolves squad is connecting on 39.3% of its 3s, which propels them to sixth in 3P% since the trade deadline.
At least two Wolves players have connected on two or more 3s in their last eight games, and three or more have hit the three 3-pointers mark in three of those games.
D’Angelo Russell led the sharpshooting on Wednesday by hitting seven of the 14 3s he attempted, becoming the fourth Timberwolf to hit seven 3s in a game this season (Karl-Anthony Towns x2, Andrew Wiggins and Malik Beasley). He’s shooting 39.6% from deep with the Wolves and attempting 9.6 3s per game. I’ll take that.
More importantly, the Wolves’ offensive rating has improved from 106.4 (23rd in the league) to 115.7 (sixth) since Minnesota’s President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas revamped his roster.
It’s crazy what can happen when you trust the pRosas.
No Magic Behind The Arc
For the Magic, 3-point shooting has one of their most shortcomings this month.
Before Feb. 6, Orlando was shooting 33.6% from behind the arc and didn’t do much to bolster their roster before the trade deadline aside from acquiring James Ennis who isn’t exactly a 3-point shooting maven.
Since the trade deadline, the Magic are shooting 33.5% from deep and only hitting 34.4% (fifth-worst in the league) of their attempts that come when the closest defender is at least six feet away. To compare, the Wolves are connecting on 42.4% (fifth-best) of their wide-open 3-point attempts since the trade deadline.
The Wolves will have quite the offensive advantage if these trends continue on Friday.
Wolves: Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) is out.
Magic: Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) and Jonathan Isaac (knee) are out.
Wolves: PG—Russell, SG—Beasley, SF—Okogie, PF—Hernangomez, C—Reid
Magic: PG—Fultz, SG—Fournier, SF—Ennis, PF—Gordon, C—Vučević