The Minnesota Timberwolves capped off their three-game road trip with a loss to the Phoenix Suns. However, two out of three is okay for a team fighting to stay out of the play-in tournament. Unfortunately, the Wolves are currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference, one game behind the 40-37 sixth seed Golden State Warriors.
Sunday, the Timberwolves got the best of the Warriors down the stretch in a close-wired game — a confidence booster in knocking off the defending champs in their building, 99-96.
Towns has been huge for Minnesota since his return
Superstar Karl-Anthony Towns rose to the occasion making two late three-pointers to ice the game. Big KAT finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and a pair of steals in his second game after returning from a right calf strain.
The Timberwolves missed having KAT in the lineup to save the day. But the Wolves are at their best when everyone is involved, and they showed that against the Warriors, with six players scoring in double figures.
"Minnesota Head Coach Chris Finch on the team’s performance“Defensively I thought we were really, really good,” Finch said. “When you play these guys it puts a lot of onus on your smalls to keep chasing, keep fighting and keep contesting.”"
The Wolves and Warriors are neck and neck for the sixth seed, with only five games remaining in the regular season; neither team can afford to lose a step.
Here is a look at the Timberwolves’ remaining regular season schedule, with the Los Angeles Lakers next in their eyesight. The Lakers are another team fighting to stay in the playoff race —currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in crunch time
The Timberwolves’ next game could determine if they make the playoffs or the play-in. After finding success against another California team on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings, the Wolves look to retain that same intensity against a reformed Lakers team in the hunt.
Versatility is an area in which the Wolves stand out. You are safe when multiple players can defend and score at will. Defensive Player of The Year candidate Jaden McDaniels displayed his versatility Monday, scoring 20 points as Minnesota prevented the Kings from clinching a spot in the playoffs on their watch.
Seven players scored in double figures against Sacramento without big man Karl-Anthony Towns at the helm, who sat out to rest his right calf according to Coach Finch.
"“These guys really like each other and love playing with each other. They have lifted their game with the games being so big.”"
Wolves will need to win as many as possible to secure playoff berth
In terms of big games with huge playoff implications, the Wolves may have fumbled one against the Suns. But they have a small window of opportunity to escape the play-in tournament and make the playoffs.
The Timberwolves have one of the easiest schedules remaining, and the ball is in their court with three out of five games in Minnesota. Home court advantage is a momentous shifter at this time in the league.
It is win or go home, and the playoff atmosphere is upon us. NBA fans across the world are hyped to see their favorite teams make a run in the postseason, and the Minnesota Timberwolves will need to close out the regular season strong to do so.