The time is now for the Wolves to make a run at the 8 seed

Despite a bad 11-23 record, the Wolves are within a few games of a playoff spot.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Maybe the Timberwolves are who they are and they'll continuing their inconsistent ways, but if head coach Tom Thibodeau can find a way to get this team on a roll, now is the time.

According to NBA.com, the Wolves have the second easiest schedule in the Western Conference in January. They play 15 games and nine of them are at home. They play on back-to-back nights just once while their opponents will meet Minnesota on the second night of a back-to-back four times. Nine games are against teams at or below .500 and no team in the West will play as many bad defensive teams as the Wolves.

Meanwhile, the teams Minnesota is chasing for the eighth seed in the West, with the exception of the Lakers, have very tough January schedules.

  1. Kings (3rd hardest)
  2. Nuggets (6th hardest)
  3. Pelicans (4th hardest)
  4. Lakers (6th easiest)
  5. Wolves (2nd easiest)

Entering play Tuesday, the Wolves are only 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Kings.

But look closely, are Minnesota's 14 remaining games this month really that easy?

  • Jan. 3 - at Philadelphia (8-24 overall, 5-14 at home)
  • Jan. 6 - at Washington (16-17 overall, 13-6 at home)
  • Jan. 7 - vs. Utah (22-13 overall, 10-6 on the road)
  • Jan. 9 - vs. Dallas (10-24 overall, 4-15 on the road)
  • Jan. 11 - vs. Houston (27-9 overall, 13-6 on the road)
  • Jan. 13 - vs. Oklahoma City (21-14 overall, 8-8 on the road)
  • Jan. 15 - at Dallas (10-24 overall, 6-9 at home)
  • Jan. 17 - at San Antonio (27-7 overall, 11-4 at home)
  • Jan. 19 - at L.A. Clippers (23-14 overall, 12-6 at home)
  • Jan. 22 - vs. Denver (14-20 overall, 7-11 on the road)
  • Jan. 24 - at Phoenix (10-25 overall, 4-16 on the road)
  • Jan. 26 - vs. Indiana (17-18 overall, 4-13 on the road)
  • Jan. 28 - vs. Brooklyn (8-25 overall, 1-16 on the road)
  • Jan. 30 - vs. Orlando (16-20 overall, 9-9 on the road)

Notice how it doesn't get "easy" until the end of the month with games against Denver, Phoenix, Indiana, Brooklyn and Orlando.

Thibodeau and company have their work cut out for them over the next nine games. In fact, they're going to be incredibly difficult to win with the exceptions (maybe) of Philadelphia and two games against Dallas. Here's why:

  1. Washington has won eight straight at home and John Wall is on fire
  2. Utah is a top four team in the West and Derrick Favors is getting healthier
  3. Houston and Oklahoma City have already beaten the Wolves twice
  4. The Spurs are the Spurs
  5. The Clippers have lost six of seven but Chris Paul will be back from injury by Jan. 19

Fun fact: The Wolves are 9-11 in games they've had a double-digit lead this season. If they stop blowing big leads they'll have a much better shot at ending a 12-year playoff drought.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 3.17.49 PM

No KAT? No D'Lo? No problem as Timberwolves defeat Pelicans

The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but still picked up a (SCORE) win.

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 7.53.44 PM

Spinouts, crashes across Twin Cities as snow gets heavier

There have been multiple incidents across the metro area.

Mason Branstrator

Family, friends raising funds for teen soccer standout with spinal injury

Mason Branstrator of Duluth was injured in a skiing accident.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Tributes pour in after MN Supreme Court justice's daughter found dead

Olivia Chutich died near the campus of Iowa State University.

Image from iOS (96)

Early Saturday fire damages Burger King in Richfield

The fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. / Gopher Basketball

Maryland hands Gophers first home loss of season

The 17th-ranked Gophers fell to the Terrapins 63-49 on Saturday afternoon.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Minnesota Department of Health files lawsuit against Alibi Drinkery

The Lakeville bar has been in the news for defying orders.

Iron Tap snowmobile delivery

This MN restaurant will deliver to your ice house... on a snowmobile

Just in case you work up an appetite fishing on Lake Waconia.

Klobuchar and Trump

Klobuchar reacts to report Trump plotted against his attorney general

The NYT story alleges further tactics to overturn the election.

Related

The time is now for the Wolves to make a run at the 8 seed

Despite a bad 11-23 record, the Wolves are within a few games of a playoff spot.

You're not crazy if you think the Wolves can still make the playoffs

Despite their bad record, the Wolves are still in the thick of the fight for the 8-seed in the Western Conference.

You're not crazy if you think the Wolves can still make the playoffs

Despite their bad record, the Wolves are still in the thick of the fight for the 8-seed in the Western Conference.

Believe it or not, the Wolves are trending towards getting hot

MInnesota's defense has improved dramatically over the last month, giving hope to a team that is only 4 games out of a playoff spot.

Believe it or not, the Wolves are trending towards getting hot

MInnesota's defense has improved dramatically over the last month, giving hope to a team that is only 4 games out of a playoff spot.

Pelicans trade for Cousins has major impact on Wolves' playoff hopes

DeMarcus Cousins alongside Anthony Davis puts the Pelicans in the driver's seat for the 8th playoff spot.

Pelicans trade for Cousins has major impact on Wolves' playoff hopes

DeMarcus Cousins alongside Anthony Davis puts the Pelicans in the driver's seat for the 8th playoff spot.

Wishful thinking about the Wolves' playoff hopes

Reality says the Wolves have little chance at the playoffs, but a more hopeful scenario could play out.