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Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins, left, and Robert Covington high-five during a timeout in the closing moments of the their second overtime against the Sacramento Kings in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019.
Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins, left, and Robert Covington high-five during a timeout in the closing moments of the their second overtime against the Sacramento Kings in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019.|Rich Pedroncelli | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Monday: Greg Frank picks Heat vs Wizards and Nets vs Timberwolves — will Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins play? Does it matter?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-1 Sunday, 59-57-1 overall.

Heat (-8.5) @ Wizards (227.5)

Pick: Wizards +8.5

This feels eerily similar to our Sixers-Magic handicap from a couple days ago. Miami is coming off of a big win, ironically against the Sixers on Saturday night, and now has a road game against a cellar dweller to close out 2019. The Heat start 2020 with the Raptors, another team right in the mix in the East, visiting South Beach on Thursday. Who can blame the Heat for coming with a C effort tonight? After all, it might be good enough to win in the nation’s capital anyway. But as far as we’re concerned, if we’re right about the effort from Miami, it won’t be enough to cover this number. After all, the Wizards only lost by nine points in the first meeting between these two teams in Miami earlier in December. We’d expect them to keep it closer at home anyway. The sandwich spot sure got the Sixers in Orlando on Friday as they were off the big Christmas win against the Bucks and had the Heat next after the Magic. With the second half of the season fast approaching, it sure looks like the top six teams in the East will all have decent chances at opening the playoffs at home. That makes games between them that much more pivotal and we’re expecting the Heat to be riding their high horses a little bit after beating the Sixers and looking ahead to Toronto at the same time.

Nets (-3.5) @ Timberwolves (219.5)

Pick: Timberwolves +3.5

We wrote about how bad the Timberwolves have been in December last week. Maybe that’s all they needed because they got their first win of the month on Thursday night in Sacramento. While they couldn’t follow it up on Saturday, losing at home to Cleveland, Minnesota isn’t as awful as it has played this month. These teams met in October and Kyrie Irving dropped 50 points to go with 8 rebounds and 7 assists but Minnesota still won the game 127-126 in overtime. Irving is again sidelined with a shoulder injury for Brooklyn tonight. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are game-time decisions for the Timberwolves. But our play is simply on role players like Noah Vonleh, Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie playing better at home. In any sport at almost any level, it’s usually fair to assume role players will have more confidence in familiar territory with the crowd behind them. This looks like it might be a battle of role players for both teams, and therefore we’ll take the home dog.

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