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Nets visit Timberwolves to wrap up 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Not ending the year in style. The Brooklyn Nets dug themselves a huge hole, fought all the way back to take the lead, but couldn't bring it all the way home as they lost to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. You can't afford to start slowly when you're as short handed as they currently are.

The opponent to close out 2019 will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's been another rough season for this franchise, which isn't out of the ordinary at this point for them. They lost on Saturday night at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They've only won one game this entire month.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 8 PM.

Injuries

No Kyrie Irving or David Nwaba or Kevin Durant or Nicolas Claxton. Caris Levert is getting closer, but not yet. Claxton resumed at least limited practice and is working on his strength.

Karl Anthony Towns (knee) hasn't played since December 13 due to a knee injury. Andrew Wiggins missed Saturday's game due to flu-like symptoms. Their status is being “evaluated,” the TWolves report. Jake Layman is also out.

The game

Minnesota won the first meeting on Opening Night.

It's still mind blowing to me that the Wolves have only made the playoffs once without Kevin Garnett in their entire franchise history.

I hate that I have to say this again, but please do NOT speculate on a stranger's mental health if you don't know them or have treated them. Seriously.

If Spencer Dinwiddie is cold, then the Nets' chances of winning are incredibly slim. Dinwiddie's shooting has been off over the past few games, and if his shots aren't falling, it can get ugly for Brooklyn in a hurry.

As I'm sure Kenny Atkinson can explain in great detail, life is hard when your top two scorers are out of action. For Ryan Saunders and the Wolves, if KAT and Wiggins out, they'll have to figure out where the scoring will come from. In all likelihood, Jeff Teague will have to take on more responsibilities. Teague has never really been someone you can consistently count on to score, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Brooklyn ought to feast on the boards tonight. Minnesota is in the bottom third of the league in rebounding, and with Towns hurting, they'll be without one of the league's best rebounders.

Player to watch: Robert Covington

As one of the main pieces from the Jimmy Butler trade, Covington has been a good player for the Wolves since coming over from Philadelphia. However, with Minnesota free falling, Covington might be made available to restock the Wolves' cupboards. Over at Canis Hoopus, Eric in Madison made the following observation:

I am not eager to move Cov, who I see as a very valuable player on a terrific contract for the next couple of years. Of course, that’s what makes him appealing to other teams, but I don’t think anyone is giving up star-level return for him, and I’d be hesitant to move him for anything that isn’t a clear win. I am not interested in late firsts from contenders, which is likely what they are looking at from teams like the Rockets. I’d want at least a young player who has established some ability to contribute in the NBA, and those are hard to come by. So unless Covington is part of a deal for a star, I’d rather keep him, but as noted above, I suspect they will move him.

If you've got a good 29 year old on the roster, might as well keep him if you can. When Towns gets back, he's gonna need somebody decent to pass the ball to.

Joe Harris could use a nice showing to wrap up what's been a good 2019. His shot has been off the past two games, but he's still one of the best shooters going and if he heats up, he can help drivs the Wolves further into the basement.

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More reading: Canis Hoopus