The Minnesota Timberwolves are sitting in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference with a 43-33 record. What do they need to do to make the postseason?
Coming off of a bad loss to one of the worst teams in the league in the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, the Timberwolves turned around and defeated the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday behind a career-high 56 points from Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Wolves needed to win that game to keep not only their playoff hopes alive, but to also move up in the standings. The Grizzlies had lost 23 of their past 24 games and lost to the Charlotte Hornets by 61 points just last week, and Minnesota needed a bounce-back in the worst way.
Here is a look at the rest of the Wolves’ regular season schedule.
March 30 @ Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs are tied with the Brooklyn Nets at 23-51 for the fourth worst record in the league and will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row after making the postseason in 15 out of the last 16 years. The Wolves are 3-0 against the Mavericks this year.
April 1 vs. Utah Jazz
Utah is currently the No. 8 seed and only a half game behind the Wolves. Minnesota has won two of the three games between the two squads so far this season.
April 5 @ Denver Nuggets
Denver is 2.5 games behind the Wolves for the eighth spot but seem to be fading quickly. The Wolves are 2-0 against the Nuggets this year and face them in the season finale.
April 6 @ Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are 32-41 and Lonzo Ball continues to be the biggest conversation-starter when it comes to L.A. basketball. So far this season, the Wolves are 3-0 against the Lakers, but this game comes on the second night of a tough road back-to-back.
April 9 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
The Wolves are 0-2 against the Grizzlies and just had a disappointing home loss against them on Monday. God help us all if it happens again.
April 11 vs. Denver Nuggets
The season finale comes against a team that could also be battling for it’s playoff life. But will the Wolves have a playoff spot already clinched before the game?
These remaining six games are extremely winnable for the Wolves. Will they win them all? That will be tough, of course. Winning seven games in a row, including Wednesday’s win over Atlanta, is never easy regardless of who you play, but doable for this team with the above schedule.
Going 6-1 over their last seven games should be more than enough for them to clinch their first playoff berth since 2004. Maybe 5-2 will be good enough, but the Wolves need to step it up regardless.
Minnesota has had several tough losses this season, but you have to think the latest loss to the Grizzlies was the worst one. If you want to make the playoffs you cannot lose to one of the worst teams in the league, especially at home and this late in the year.
With Jimmy Butler, this looked like a team that could perhaps get the third seed, and the No. 4 seed looked to be doable even with his five-week (at least) absence. But at this point, even the eighth spot would be huge for this franchise.
Even if the Wolves have to face the Houston Rockets in the first round and get swept, it would still be an important experience for Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns and fun for the fans to see their squad make the playoffs.
Time to end this drought and step it up. It’s crunch time, Wolves fans.