Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves
(8 p.m., Target Center, Minneapolis)
TV: Bally Sports Southwest
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM (Univision 1270 AM, Spanish)
About the Mavericks (42-29): They need a win to guarantee the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. They also could be No. 5 with a loss and wins by both the Los Angeles Lakers (at New Orleans) and Portland (home vs. Denver). All three games start at 8 p.m. tonight . . . A loss by the Lakers, however, and the door is ajar for Portland to finish fifth with a win and a Mavericks loss. But let’s not think about that. A win, and there in No. 5 . . . The Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the league since February, going 34-16 . . . They also are 12-3 since April 21, including wins over the Lakers (twice), Brooklyn and Miami . . . Luka Dončić will finish this season with a slight dip in scoring, rebounding and assists from last season, but who’s going to quibble with the 27.9 points, 8.6 assists and 8 rebounds he’s averaging? Plus, he’s upgraded significantly in one very key area – 3-point shooting. His accuracy has jumped from .316 last season to .351 this year. He has made 19 more 3-pointers (190) than last season on exactly the same number of shots (540, so far) . . . Tim Hardaway Jr. has 205 3-pointers this season, one more than he had last season and he’s shooting them at 39 percent. It’s the second-best mark of his career (behind last season). Before arriving at Dallas, Hardaway had not shot better than 36.3 percent from behind the arc . . . Maxi Kleber (right Achilles) is doubtful and J.J. Redick (right heel) is out.
About the Timberwolves (22-49): They are coming off a 124-108 loss at home to Boston on Saturday, a game in which Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 14 rebounds and rookie Anthony Edwards had 23 points and six assists. Both of those players were No. 1 overall draft picks (Towns in 2015). There’s no denying the Wolves have stockpiled talent. But it just never has translated into becoming a winning team . . . They have missed the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 seasons . . . While there’s no guarantee who will play in the season finale for a team that will finish with one of the three worst records in the Western Conference, Edwards has performed like a No. 1 pick, averaging 19.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. The Georgia product also has shot 32.5 percent from 3-point range, which is not bad for a rookie . . . Towns has averaged 24.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game . . . The Wolves actually went 8-5 over a monthlong stretch before losing their last two games . . . They are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, giving up nearly 118 points per game with a defensive rating of 28th in the league. Opponents hit 39.1 percent of their 3-point tries against Minnesota, the best percentage in the league.