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Mavericks vs. Timberwolves prediction: NBA Western Conference Game 1 player props, picks, odds



After two hard-earned series victories in the conference semi-finals the Mavericks travel to Minnesota as moderate 4.5-point underdogs on Wednesday.

They are here in large part, thanks to the rebounding of Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively, which was perhaps the catalyst to the upset of the Thunder during the semifinal round. 

It’s going to be a much different story in the Western Conference Final against the Timberwolves. 

The pair of Dallas big men’s numbers on the boards against OKC are stunning. 

Gafford and Lively pulled down 92 total rebounds in six games, averaging 15.3 per game while largely splitting time at the center position. 

They were even more dominant on the offensive glass, combining for 5.5 a game. 

Lively, in particular, averaged over three offensive rebounds per game in the series, pulling down at least two in every contest. 

By no surprise, the young, undersized Thunder were out-rebounded in every game except one in the series, including a 47-31 drubbing on the glass in the Game 6 series finale. 

Rebounding won’t come as easy for Daniel Gafford in the West Finals. NBAE via Getty Images

But the Mavericks are facing a much different challenge in the Timberwolves, a team built around size down low, in the conference finals.

During the regular season, the Timberwolves pulled down 44.1 rebounds per game (fourth-most in the NBA) with a 54.1 percent rebound rate, which was second-best in the league behind the Celtics. 

The Timberwolves deploy one of the top rebounders in NBA history in Rudy Gobert, and regularly play him alongside other center-sized players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid. 

All three players are arguably better on the boards than Chet Holmgren, the Thunder’s best rebounder. 

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Minnesota is also a much more physical team than the jump-shooting Thunder, which could raise issues for foul-prone bigs like Gafford and Lively. 

Fade the pair’s rebounding prospects in what’s sure to be a much less favorable match-up. 

The picks: Daniel Gafford under 5.5 rebounds (+118, FanDuel), Dereck Lively under 5.5 rebounds (+112)

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