When the Washington Wizards acquired Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets, there was perhaps some exultation on the part of fantasy team owners, but skepticism from those who questioned whether he and Bradley Beal could exist in the same backcourt.
Indeed, this team got off to a slow start and at one point had the worst record in the NBA. But now they seem to have gotten their footing. This has moved them in a positive direction very quickly, as they are getting closer to playoff position.
They will go after their seventh win in eight outings against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Capital One Arena. It tips off at 7:05 PM ET.
And here are the NBA betting odds as they have been posted at BetOnline:
Washington Wizards -4 (-113)
Minnesota Timberwolves +4 (-107)
Over 236.5 points -115
Under 236.5 points -105
Yes, the Wizards (12-18 SU, 15-15 ATS) have won six of their last seven games, which now positions them just two games out of eighth place in what is a rather crowded race for the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff queue. And all those teams don't have two superstar-level players who can take over a game at any time.
Beal previously teamed with John Wall, who is now in Houston, and in the nation's capital he's had the opportunity to pad his numbers even more than he had before. So right now he is the leading scorer in the NBA, averaging 32.8 per game.
Did the Wizards need two basketballs for the combo between Beal and Westbrook? Well, that question was asked about Westbrook and James Harden, as it had also been asked about him and Kevin Durant. It hasn't always worked out well, and it's a little too early to tell if that's going to happen here.
But during this seven-game run, Westbrook has not only chalked up four triple-doubles, he has come within either one assist or one rebound from three others. In other words, he might very easily have had seven straight triple-doubles.
And in this current stretch the Wizards aren't beating laydowns either. They have wins over Boston, Portland, the Lakers and Denver (twice).
The situation with Minnesota (7-26 SU, 13-19-1 ATS) is somewhat combustible at the moment. Of course, the T-Wolves aren't playing all that well; there is an injury sidelining guard D'Angelo Russell and COVID-19 got the best of Karl-Anthony Towns for a while. The word was that the presence of coach Ryan Saunders had fostered too much of a "relaxed" atmosphere. So a change was made, as the team fired him and immediately brought in Chris Finch, a Toronto Raptors assistant, to replace him. And not on an interim basis either.
There has been some outcry. Some players and commentators, seeking out a racial angle, have questioned why David Vanterpool, an assistant to Saunders, didn't get a chance. Among them were Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum, who Vanterpool worked with in Portland. Perhaps there has been something disruptive about all this; the Wolves have dropped their last six games, both straight-up and against the spread.
And now they are without Malik Beasley, the shooting guard averaging over 20 points a game, who is on a 12-game suspension resulting from a guilty plea on a charge of threatening gun violence. He gets 120 days in jail, which he'll serve at the end of the regular season.
The way it's going, the regular season is all there will be fore the T-Wolves. We'll look for their ATS losing streak to continue, as we'll lay the points.
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