Go bigger in Game 4? KAT, Gobert, Naz Reid lineup has been elite

Down three games to none, why not try a lineup combination that has been dominant?
Feb 8, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) and center Rudy Gobert (27) reach for a rebound during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 8, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) and center Rudy Gobert (27) reach for a rebound during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley and Draymond Green agree that Minnesota playing big guys against a Mavericks team that doesn't offer much in the form of big man offense is a recipe for disaster. They argue that unless Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert are dominating on offense, it makes no sense to leave them on the floor against Dallas' guards and wings, namely Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

It's a valid point considering Doncic and Irving have led the Mavericks to a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals, but a contrarian idea for Game 4 Tuesday would be going even bigger. Why not try a lineup featuring Towns, Gobert and Naz Reid on the floor at the same time?

The Wolves have rolled with Towns, Gobert and Reid together in four games this postseason and in their 11 minutes together they have a plus-minus rating of plus-28.8. That's from an 133.3 offensive rating and an 104.5 defensive rating.

In other words, they've dominated in a small sample size.

The trio was even better during the regular season. According to NBA Stats, the Wolves used all three on the floor in 10 games for a total of 26 minutes and they rocked an 126.5 offensive rating and an 86.8 defensive rating. That's a net rating of plus-39.7.

Again, these are small sample sizes but they have produced elite production.

In a perfect world the Wolves wouldn't be down three games to none and the narrative entering Game 4 wouldn't be about Towns and Anthony Edwards getting outplayed, especially in the final few minutes of each game, by Doncic and Irving.

NBA teams that take a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs are 154-0. It's going to take a miracle for Minnesota to come all the way back, and a Hail Mary with three bigs might be worth it.


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Joe Nelson

JOE NELSON