Timberwolves must outplay these 6 NBA teams down the stretch

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves News Timberwolves schedule
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

LA Clippers (39-35)

The LA Clippers have feasted a bit on some of the less competitive NBA teams, and have just eight games remaining on their schedule. While they do not face the Minnesota Timberwolves, they will have a say in how the NBA Western Conference turns out. With two games against the Memphis Grizzlies, two games against the New Orleans Pelicans, a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, and finally a game against the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers’ success or failure the rest of the way can pave the road for the Timberwolves, or set up speed bumps to the NBA Playoffs.

The Clippers signed veteran PG Russell Westbrook and have played to a 6-7 record since adding him to the roster.  The Minnesota Timberwolves faced the Clippers just one time since the NBA Trade Deadline, a game played at Target Center on February 28, 2023. On that night, a very shorthanded Timberwolves team turned back the Clippers, extending their losing streak to three games in what would eventually be a five-game skid. The Clippers have since rebounded but must continue to find success against a difficult schedule.

Golden State Warriors (39-36)

The Golden State Warriors have posed quite a challenge to the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves all season, and they will face off one final time this season. The Warriors were not one of the most active teams at the NBA Trade Deadline but did engage in a 4-team trade that added versatile wing Gary Payton II, a player who competed on the Warriors roster from 2020-22.

Payton underwent core muscle surgery in the offseason, and his recovery sidelined him until January 2023. He subsequently was injured again and has not competed for the Warriors yet since the NBA Trade Deadline. But a recent positive medical checkup could change all of that.

It’s clear that the Minnesota Timberwolves fourth and final matchup with the Warriors this season is as close to a must-win game as the team will face in the regular season. And with a mere eight games remaining on their regular season schedule, the Timberwolves need to put a game in their loss column. The Warriors just defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, and must now face the Timberwolves, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Denver Nuggets, and the Sacramento Kings. If they win just one of those games, they are all but assured of a .500 record to finish out, and an NBA Playoff berth