The Minnesota Timberwolves will try to increase their winning streak to four games when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night in Minneapolis.
The contest marks the opening installment of a home-and-home set between the teams. After Sunday's game, the teams will fly south and tip off Tuesday night in Dallas.
Minnesota is coming off a resounding 110-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, which followed victories over the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets earlier in the week. The Timberwolves can climb back to .500 with a victory on their home court.
If the Timberwolves stay hot, Karl-Anthony Towns figures to be a big reason why. The veteran center leads Minnesota with 24.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game this season.
Against the Lakers, Towns scored 28 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in 32 minutes.
"I think that was his goal coming into the season, to re-establish himself as a premier big in this league," Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said. "So when he gets these matchups (against top players), he's bringing his best game."
Dallas hopes to bring its best game after falling short 107-104 in overtime against the Lakers on Wednesday night. The Mavericks have won two of their last three and sit squarely at .500.
Jalen Brunson led Dallas with 25 points on 11-for-18 shooting in the most recent performance. Kristaps Porzingis added 23 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
The Mavericks will remain without Luka Doncic because of a left ankle injury. This will be the fourth game in a row and eighth of the last 16 that Doncic has missed.
Dallas will be shorthanded in other areas, too. The Mavericks expect to be without Reggie Bullock (health and safety protocols), Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons), Josh Green (illness), Frank Ntilikina (illness) and Eugene Omoruyi (right foot) on Sunday.
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has told his team to be vigilant, especially as COVID-19 cases once again are on the rise across the country.
"This isn't new," Kidd said. "This has been around. So we're just taking it one day at a time. That's all you can do because tomorrow could be different where you could have positive tests. You just have to take it one day at a time."
The Timberwolves also have been forced to adjust. In their last game, Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince both were forced to miss the game as part of health and safety protocols.
Edwards and Prince will not be available for Sunday's game, the team announced.
That means the Timberwolves will have to rely on their depth against the Mavericks. Jarred Vanderbilt has provided a spark, particularly on the defensive end, while Jaylen Nowell is coming off a season-high 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting against the Lakers.
Nowell credited his head coach, Finch, with keeping the team focused and motivated.
"He knows how to talk to guys differently," Nowell said. "The way you talk to 'KAT' isn't the same way you would talk to (DeAngelo Russell). The way you talk to (Russell) isn't the same way you would talk to Malik (Beasley).
"So he knows how to bring out the best in every single player."
--Field Level Media