The Timberwolves face the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at 10:30. This game is very crucial for the Timberwolves as they continue to fight for a playoff spot with only 2 games remaining after tonight’s matchup.
If the Timberwolves can defeat the Lakers tonight the chances of them ending their 14 year playoff drought will increase with this win or go home situation. The Timberwolves are currently the 8th seed in the Western Conference after a 100-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
This is the second consecutive loss for the Timberwolves as they lost to the Utah Jazz 121-97 on Sunday night. Though losing 2 straight games and falling to the 8th seed in the conference, the Timberwolves still hold the position over the Nuggets. As the Timberwolves hold a 2-1 advantage over the Nuggets in the regular season and the final head to head matchup between the two comes down to the last regular game of the season on Wednesday night in Minnesota.
Currently the 5-7 seeds are also in a close race and everything could look every different on Wednesday night. Currently the Spurs, Thunder, and Pelicans are 44-34 which is a one game advantage over both the Nuggets and Timberwolves.
Though the final games of the season could have a very different outcome as the Timberwolves are getting back Jimmy Butler who missed the previous 17 games with a knee injury.
The Timberwolves are 12-13 when facing against teams in the Western Conference.
The Timberwolves last game against the Lakers happened on Christmas when the Timberwolves won 121-104.
The Lakers latest win ended the chances of the Spurs winning 50 games for the 18th straight year. If the Lakers can pull off another big win to hurt another teams playoff chances it will be because of rookie Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma had 30 points against the Spurs. With his latest 30 point game, Kuzma now has the most 30 point games this season for the Lakers (4) since Magic Johnson. Kuzma also caused havoc against every team as he tallied over 1,000 points and 150 3-pointers.
The Lakers recent win over the Spurs is also the first time the Lakers swept them since the ’97 season.
Kuzma has proven to be a difference marker for the Lakers and provides enough fire power and energy to ignite an offense with both Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. However, Ingram is still in concussion protocol and is unlikely to play.
Key to a Lakers Victory:
Lakers need Kyle Kuzma to stay hot and healthy if they want him to spoil yet another teams chance at the postseason. Kuzma has been a dominate force for this young squad this season and has shown to be a viable passer and is also a talented shooter.
Keys to a Timberwolves Victory:
Everyone needs to play to their best ability. Butler needs to continue to be a force on the perimeter as well as on defense. His presence was missed these past games and you could tell he was missed. Towns needs to continue to be tough in the paint and fight every possession. If those two can get in a groove and help create shots for their team then they have a chance to earn a playoff spot.