Saturday, September 23, 2023
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NBA Preview: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have another chance to capitalize on their home-heavy schedule.

Minnesota’s latest results have trended downward. The Timberwolves have lost two straight games at the Target Center, a streak they will try to end Monday night when the Orlando Magic make their only scheduled visit to Minneapolis this season.

Minnesota, which is playing seven of its first eight games at Target Center, started a four-game homestand Saturday with a 93-91 setback to the Denver Nuggets.

Malik Beasley came off the bench to hit six 3-pointers for a team-high 18 points, but the Timberwolves scored only four points during the final six-plus minutes as the Nuggets erased an 87-82 deficit.

The Timberwolves, who could not convert two potential game-tying looks at the basket in the waning seconds, fell to 2-2 at home this season. Meanwhile, Orlando’s road record went to 1-4 with a 110-103 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

Karl-Anthony Towns totaled 112 points through Minnesota’s first four games but was limited to 14 against Denver on 4-for-11 shooting from the field.

Fellow former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and D’Angelo Russell added 14 points and six assists, but the Timberwolves shot 38.9 percent from the floor.

Naz Reid also gave Minnesota a lift off the bench with 12 points and two blocked shots in 19 minutes.

“Our scorers weren’t scoring, then they wanted to start scoring and they were then trying to take the game by themselves,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “It’s really not a game — or a defense — that you do that against.”

Orlando continues to battle under new coach Jamahl Mosley, but the Magic are on a four-game slide following their loss to the previously winless Pistons. The Magic’s current three-game road swing began with a 110-109 setback to Toronto on Friday.

“I think we got a little fatigued, turned it over a couple times and gave them (the Pistons) a little momentum on the break,” Mosley said after the loss to Detroit. “Three (games) in four nights, I think that might have taken a little bit of a toll, but that’s not an excuse. We wore down just a little bit, but I think we kept fighting towards the end.”

Orlando led Detroit 69-63 on two Jalen Suggs free throws with 4:28 left in the third quarter, but the Pistons ended the period with a 19-4 run. Detroit’s lead swelled to 17 (100-83) on Josh Jackson’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter.

Brothers Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner, both of whom attended the University of Michigan, combined for 32 points in a return to the Wolverine State. Franz had a career-high 19 points, including three shots from beyond the arc, and Moritz added 13 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

Cole Anthony had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who shot 16-for-32 from 3-point range. R.J. Hampton added 11 points off the bench, and Mo Bamba and Suggs scored 10 apiece.

The Magic entered the 2021-22 season with nine players aged 23 or younger.

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