The Wolves typically play well at home against Portland, and they’ll be on regular rest. The Trail Blazers will likely be comfortably in the playoff mix but could be jostling for seeding position. It should be a good game, but it’ll be a Wolves win.
The Mavericks entered the All-Star Break only a game behind the Wolves, but Dallas should be more than comfortable with losing a game at this point. The Wolves lost in D-Town in Game 3 of the season in a back-to-back that Butler sat out and the Mavericks won the matchup at Target Center, but it would be surprising to see the Wolves swept by Dallas this year.
The Wolves won fairly easily in Miami early in the year. The Heat are a fringe playoff team in the inferior Eastern Conference, so the Wolves shouldn’t have any major issues getting a ‘W’ here at home.
vs. Oklahoma City
The Thunder will be on their way to clinching home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and will be ready for this one, which is a Sunday matinee televised on ABC.
The best we can hope for here is that the Raptors have nothing to play for and are checked out in their lone visit to Target Center. It’s hard to see how the Wolves win this one otherwise, but there’s always a chance.
Ditto with this one. There’s a high probability that the Nuggets will be resting up for their first-round matchup, but it’s hard to predict that the Wolves would win both visits to Pepsi Center. Perhaps Minnesota will lose the earlier matchup and win this one with a playoff spot on the line, but let’s call it a loss for now.
So … is it enough?
Is 42 wins enough to make the playoffs in the West?
Probably not. As mentioned earlier, the average wins needed in the Western Conference for the No. 8 seed dating back to 2008 is 46.3, and last year’s Wolves needed 47 to get in.
But a winning record in a year filled with tumult, not to mention a post-All-Star break record of 25-10, would qualify as a win heading into the summer.
Now, what happens with Ryan Saunders, Jeff Teague, and Tyus Jones…