Comparing the Vikings’ and Timberwolves’ rivals
Let’s compare the Vikings’ biggest rivals to the Timberwolves’ rivals the Northwest Division.
The Utah Jazz are the Timberwolves’ Green Bay Packers
Even when the Jazz are the superior team, which is basically all the time, the Timberwolves can battle to some victories. But when the game plan isn’t working and its talent versus talent, the Jazz demolish the Wolves.
The Wolves’ all-time record against the Jazz is 46-88. This season alone, the Timberwolves are 1-3 versus the Jazz. The level of disgust toward the Jazz certainly does not match that of the attitude towards the Packers, but rivalries have died down a bit in the NBA as a whole.
The Denver Nuggets are the Timberwolves’ New Orleans Saints
Although the Nuggets are in the division and were technically already rivals, it all pretty much started in 2018 with Game No. 82.
The winner of the game would make the playoffs. Taj Gibson blocked a shot at the buzzer to send the Nuggets packing (think Kyle Rudolph game-winner in 2019). After that game, the Nuggets seemed to have an extra gear when facing the Timberwolves, and in the following seasons they won 12 straight.
Now with the Timberwolves coming into their own, each game is must-see. To add more fuel to the flame, it’s big man Towns versus big man Jokic battling for best big in the league. As last year’s Most Valuable Player, it’s fair to say that Jokic is running away with the award, but Towns continues to improve.
It’s also fair to say that the Nuggets have had similar playoff luck as the Saints since that Game 82. But again, the dislike toward the Saints is much higher than that of the Nuggets, and 2009 has a lot to do with that.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are the Timberwolves’ Chicago Bears
The early days of the Thunder were very similar to the early 2000’s Bears: they just had way more talent than the Timberwolves.
But now Brian Urlacher is gone, Lance Briggs is gone, there’s no Charles Tillman, no Jay Cutler, no Matt Forte. It’s much the same in OKC as the Thunder are now a shell of the Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka days.
Fast forward to today, and the Thunder are bottom-dwellers in the league. They do have nice young talent and will likely be back at the top soon, but for now, we laugh at them like we laugh at the Bears — even though they probably will beat us as they did twice last season and three times the year before. Sort of like the Soldier Field curse.
The Portland Trail Blazers are the Timberwolves Detroit Lions
The Trail Blazers are the Lions, at least in the sense that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson: two top talents with not enough around them.
Plus, the Timberwolves always seem to split games with them, and there are rare seasons with clean sweeps. The Blazers look to be in the Stafford-without-Megatron stage and it will only be a few years from Lillard moving on to a contender.
The beef here is subsided in my basketball memory, but the 1990s and 2000s had some epic battles between the two teams, similar to the Barry Sanders years in Detroit. This is the rival that you kind of feel bad for, but then remember we have never had anything great either and you save the tears for your own pain.
What are your comparisons? Which ones were spot on and which ones were air balled? Let me know in the comments!