The Minnesota Timberwolves look to keep their season alive as they enter the final two games of the season with the chance at making the playoffs still in the air. The Timberwolves may have to win both games if they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Minnesota had a chance to clinch the playoffs sooner but faced a loss against a Grizzles team that shot 47.6% in a 101-93 loss at home.
Minnesota is currently 45-35 which lands them in the 8th and final spot is the Western Conference. The 45-35 record however is the same as the Denver Nuggets, but the Timberwolves currently hold the tiebreaker.
Minnesota hosts the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night which could be a key matchup if both teams win tonight.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of just a handful of teams in the West still fighting for a playoff spot. Currently the Western Conference playoff race is wild as the Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder are all immediately ahead of the Timberwolves.
The return of Jimmy Butler definitely helps the Timberwolves both offensively and defensively. Butler returned against the Lakers as he helped them earn a much needed win. Butler scored 18 points in a 113-96 win. The Timberwolves were without Butler for 17 games due to a knee injury.
During Butlers absence the Timberwolves went 8-9, allowed 109.8 PPG and had a defensive rating of 109.6. Not to mention during that span the Timberwolves allowed opponents to shot 47.4% from the field.
Key to a Timberwolves Victory:
Everyone needs to continue to play their part. Butler must continue to electrify the offense while still being aggressive and tough on defense. Towns must dominate in the paint and create shots around the perimeter for his teammates. If everyone can leave everything out on the court tonight then I believe the Timberwolves could see themselves in the postseason.
The Memphis Grizzlies currently have the 2nd worst record in the NBA. Even though they have a bad record this season, the Grizzlies were able to hold the Timberwolves to a 41% shooting percentage two weeks ago.
Memphis has currently beaten the Timberwolves on two separate occasions leading up to tonight’s matchup. Minnesota can’t afford to go 0-3 against the Grizzlies even though the Timberwolves have eight losses with a team who lost at least 50 games.
The Grizzlies recently defeated the Detroit Pistons 130-117. During that game, the Grizzlies shot a team high 57.3% as well as making 48.5% of their 3 point shots. Since Memphis snapped their 19 game losing streak against Denver on March 27th the club has went on to go 4-8 up to this point.
Keys to a Grizzlies Victory:
The Grizzlies need to continue to shoot like they did against Detroit. If they can create shots and play aggressive enough to receive fouls then they have a chance to crush Minnesota’s hopes of making the playoffs.
Minnesota could clinch a playoff spot tonight with a victory against the Grizzlies but they would need some help. The Timberwolves would have to hope that the Spurs defeat the Kings as well as the Denver losing to Portland tonight. If all three of these happen tonight than the Timberwolves can end their 14 year playoff drought.