Taking a look at the Timbrewolves’ pre-All-Star Game schedule

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 31: Jimmy Butler #23, Tyus Jones #1, Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Jamal Crawford #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrate on the bench against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 31: Jimmy Butler #23, Tyus Jones #1, Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Jamal Crawford #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrate on the bench against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference at 33-22, but have been struggling of late. Let’s take a look at their remaining schedule prior to the All-Star break.

After a brutal stretch of games dating back to the end of December, the Timberwolves find themselves still sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference. And while they’ve lost eight of their last nine road games, they’ve won 11 straight at home and hold the third-best home record of any team in the NBA.

Let’s take a look at what’s remaining in the unofficial first half of the season. (Yes, they’ve played more than 41 games but here we’re treating the All-Star Break as the end of the “first half”.)

versus New Orleans Pelicans (27-23), February 3

The Wolves are 3-0 so far against the Pelicans. It would be huge for the Wolves to complete a sweep over a possible Western Conference playoff team. This will also be the first time they face-off since the season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins.

at Cleveland Cavaliers (30-20), February 7

Last month, the Wolves beat the Cavaliers with ease, by a final score of 127-99 at Target Center.

Kevin Love is out with a broken hand, but beating LeBron James especially on the road is never an easy task. This should be a fun one.

at Chicago Bulls (18-33), February 9

Jimmy Butler makes his return to Chicago after getting traded on draft day last June. Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson were also members of the Bulls, and this will be Thibs second game back at United Center. Things have certainly changed in the Windy City since those three were there together.

This is a game the Wolves absolutely need to win. If they are going to contend for a playoff spot, they need to win road games like this one.

versus Sacramento Kings (16-34), February 11

The Wolves beat the Kings 119-96 on December 14. It’s yet another winnable game, and Minnesota should win this one with ease.

versus Houston Rockets (36-13), February 13

The Wolves lost by a score of 116-98 to the Rockets two weeks ago in Houston. That time around, the Wolves were coming off of a back-to-back. This should be a fun test with a rested squad at Thibodeau’s disposal.

The Rockets have the second-best record in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors, and James Harden once again will be in the MVP conversation.

versus Los Angeles Lakers (19-31), February 15

The Wolves are 2-0 against the Lakers this year. Gone are the days where the Lakers were difficult to beat; the Wolves should win this game.

In summary: the Cavaliers and Rockets games could very well both be losses, but the other five games are winnable. If they can go 5-2, they’ll be great shape heading into the break.

The Timberwolves second half schedule is not so bad, either, as they face the Rockets, Warriors and San Antonio Spurs only once.

Of course, every game after the All-Star Break will be critical. Going into the season, the Wolves looked like a team that could be a top-five seed. So far, they have met those expectations. After missing the playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons, a playoff appearance would be huge for this franchise, and barring a major collapse the rest of the way, they should get in.

Next: Wolves' road struggles are starting to add up

The Wolves have lost some very winnable games so far this season, but have also won some close ones, too. It will be very interesting to see how they do the rest of the way. Can they handle the pressure? We’ll see, but having more veterans on the team will certainly help.