Britt Robson, formerly of Sports Illustrated and now with MinnPost, put together a piece today tearing apart the Timberwolves' chances of making a late push to the playoffs.
As Robson put it, "the playoffs are a pipe dream."
A come-from-behind win over the NBA-worst Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday pushed their record back above the .500 mark (32-31), but they're still five games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Robson says the Wolves need to go 14-5 over the final 19 games of the season to make the race interesting.
After re-signing center Nikola Pekovic and spending money in free agency on Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Chase Budinger, the Wolves were supposed to be a playoff team. Robson notes that Minnesota's starting five of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Brewer, Martin and Pekovic has played more minutes together than any starting five in the NBA – other than Indiana and Portland.
The result has been a Wolves' team that hasn't been more than three games above .500 all season, and they're 2-12 in games decided by four points or less.
The current playoff picture (below) tells a better story. Not only is Minnesota chasing the Mavericks, they're also trying to leap the Suns.
Phoenix will be tested with six of their next nine games on the road. Dallas has an unusual schedule ahead. After a pair of road games against the Jazz and Thunder, the Mavericks will play eight straight at home, a place they are 21-10 this season.
In other words, Robson is probably right when he calls the Wolves' playoff chances a pipe dream.