The Wolves have had six sets of back-to-backs in their 22 games. (Quick maths — that’s over 54%.) They just won on the second night of a back-to-back for the second time all season. The first was the Boston blowout the night after the (first) Denver debacle ages ago. Anyway, the Philly and Detroit wins give the Wolves a two-game winning streak. Sure, the 19-point comeback against the Sixers required a special performance by Robbie Hummel and the Wolves overall shooting hasn’t looked so great so far this season, but there are reasons for optimism.
In what appears to be a mistake by the NBA schedule-makers, it appears to be easing up on Minnesota after a week spent abroad, getting smoked out in Mexico City and blown out at home by the Miami Heat.
First up, Friday night the Wolves get a second chance for their first crack at San Antonio, who sit in their familiar perch (nearly) atop the Western Conference standings, at 17-4.
Following the Spurs, an up-until-last-week’s adventure abroad, *rare* travel off-day on Saturday en route to playing in Memphis where the currently 10-11 Grizzlies are struggling a bit. Marc Gasol is sidelined with an MCL sprain, Tony Allen is out with a hip injury, and Quincy Pondexter is out with a stress fracture. I had doubts about the Grizz before all that, just with their coaching change and existence of Tayshaun Prince as their starting small forward, but now?
I’ll just let all that go and say they’re starting Kosta Koufos in Memphis and it isn’t Lionel Hollins’s Memphis anymore.
After that Grizz game — and I just told you about this so it will sound familiar — the Wolves play Boston on the second night of a back-to-back. Sure the Wolves won by 18 on the Target Center floor last time — this time it’s in Boston, where the 4th-seeded Celtics are 5-6. Yep. I don’t know what else to say about the Celtics being the 4th seed in the East. Their record is 10-14. They lead the Atlantic Division. They are the Eastern Conference’s 4th seed with a game lead on 7-13 Toronto.
So. It’s a three-games in four nights road trip that starts in San Antonio, heads through Memphis and ends in Boston. Kind of a de-escalating degree of difficulty road trip. One you could see turning pretty nasty after watching the Wolves give up 39 points in one quarter to Philadelphia. I’ll just say 2-1 would be nice, because the real prize comes next Wednesday when the team that currently leads San Antonio by a half a game in the Western Conference standings (at 18-4) will be playing their fourth game in five nights on the road, the Portland Trail Blazers.
Wolves fans, that’s your week ahead.