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5 interesting storylines from the Wolves' 2019-20 schedule

Minnesota's schedule was released on Monday afternoon.

We now know the 82-game regular season schedule for the Timberwolves and the rest of the NBA.

The Wolves will open the season in Brooklyn Oct. 23 against the new-look Nets, who arguably made the biggest splashes this offseason, landing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who will be rehabbing an injury when the season begins. 

Here are the five most interesting storylines from the Wolves' 2019-20 schedule. 

1. Oct. 27 home opener against Miami Heat

Minnesota's first game at Target Center will be against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

We all remember how muddy things got when Butler demanded a trade before the Wolves even played a game last year, and the ominous cloud that hung over the team for the 10 games Butler played before he was dealt to Philadelphia.

When Butler returned to Target Center last March, his 76ers defeated the Wolves 118-110. But the All-Star forward shot just 4-of-17 from the floor, scoring 11 points in the victory.

With Butler now on his fourth team in four seasons, it'll be interesting to see how he performs and if Karl-Anthony Towns can beat his former teammate in an early season statement game. 

2. Nov. 8 vs. Golden State

The Golden State Warriors will trot to town Nov. 8. It will be the first Friday night home game for the Wolves and it should draw a big crowd, even if Durant is gone and Klay Thompson is rehabbing a torn ACL. 

Even though the Warriors lost Durant to free agency, they picked up D'Angelo Russell who the Wolves were also engaged in conversations with this summer, as Russell and Towns are best buds off the court but he traded to Golden State when it seemed the Wolves were about to do something magical and get him. 

Last March, the Wolves pulled off a 19-point comeback which ended in a controversial overtime winner as Durant was called for a foul on an inbound pass with just 0.5 seconds remaining.

They also picked up wins against the Warriors in 2017-18, 2016-17 and they beat the 2015-16 Warriors squad that went 73-9.

For whatever reason, these two teams always have dramatic games and Target Center should be rocking when they meet.

3. 13 back-to-backs 

Minnesota will play 13 back-to-backs this season, the same amount they had last year.

The NBA made an effort last season to cut down the amount of back-to-back contests, with the league average being 13.3 games, as pointed out by A Wolf Among Wolves.

However six of the 13 back-to-backs this season are away-away (consecutive road games) and just two of the sets are home-home.

Maybe the most difficult stretch will be March 13-18, where the Wolves will go back-to-back at Oklahoma City and San Antonio on the 13th and 14, and then will play at Portland and Phoenix on the 17th and 18th. 

Their final two road games of the season will be against the Clippers and Lakers April 12 and 13, respectively. 

Considering both L.A. teams could be fighting for the top-two seeds in the West, and if the Wolves somehow find themselves in the playoff picture, those games will likely carry a ton of weight.

4. Eastern Conference-heavy competition early

The first six games of the season – and the first seven of 10 – are against Eastern Conference opponents.

  1. Oct. 23 at Brooklyn 
  2. Oct. 25 at Charlotte 
  3. Oct. 27 vs. Miami 
  4. Oct. 30 at Philadelphia 
  5. Nov. 2 at Washington 
  6. Nov. 4 vs. Milwaukee 
  7. Nov. 6 at Memphis 
  8. Nov. 8 vs. Golden State 
  9. Nov. 10 vs. Denver 
  10. Nov.11 at Detroit

With the majority of those games on the road, there's some tough opponents lined up in Brooklyn, Philly, Miami and Milwaukee. 

The Wolves could be better than Charlotte, Washington and Memphis, but those are probably the only three games the Wolves should be favored to win.

But then when you factor in Golden State and Denver, you'd probably be happy coming away with 5-5 record in the first 10 games.

5. Toughest road trip

Of all the road trips the Wolves take, a slew of games in late December will be their toughest. From Dec. 20-26 they'll head west for games against Denver, Portland, Golden State and Sacramento.

  • Dec. 20 at Denver 
  • Dec. 21 at Portland 
  • Dec. 23 at Golden State 
  • Dec. 26 at Sacramento

Denver, Portland and Golden State were the top three teams in the Western Conference last season, and they'll have a back-to-back against the Nuggets and Trail Blazers, and the Wolves never seem win in Oregon.

Minnesota has just one win in their last 15 trips to Portland. As a franchise, Minnesota has an overall record of 34-84 against Portlant. What the Yankees are to Twins, the Blazers are to the Wolves.

The full schedule can be found here.

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