With 2 games left against Denver, Wolves' season could go either way

The odds of them falling out of the top eight are pretty low.
Publish date:

Sunday's blowout loss to Ricky Rubio and the Jazz knocked the Wolves from 5th to 7th in the playoff race and in a position of vulnerability with the Nuggets breathing down their neck. 


Ricky Rubio torches the Wolves in crucial game

Sign up for our daily newsletters

Minnesota also has to worry about the Pelicans, but it's the Nuggets that are cause for concern considering they now control their own destiny after back-to-back overtime wins against the Thunder and Bucks. 

The Wolves are 1.5 games ahead of Denver, but two of their final four games are head-to-head, and if Denver wins both the end result could lead to a playoff-less season for a 14th straight year. 

PlayoffStatus.com puts the odds of it happening at just 5 percent, but in a scenario where the Wolves finish 46-36 (or worse) it's possible. Here's the two things that would need to happen in such a scenario. 

– Denver beats Minnesota twice and wins two additional games to finish 47-35, or they beat the Wolves twice and beat Portland next Monday to finish 46-36. In the second scenario they would win the tiebreaker over Minnesota based on a better record within the division. 

This would also be required to knock the Wolves from the playoffs. 

– New Orleans wins four of its last five games (Grizzlies, Suns, Warriors, Clippers, Spurs) to finish 47-35. A tie with Minnesota isn't good enough because they went 0-4 against the Wolves this season. 

The Clippers cannot catch the Wolves if the Wolves reach 46 wins. 

So, yeah, the Wolves are still in a pretty good position. 

Wolves remaining schedule: 

  • Thursday, at Nuggets
  • Friday, at Lakers
  • Monday, vs. Grizzlies
  • Wednesday, vs. Nuggets

Nuggets remaining schedule: 

  • Tuesday, vs. Pacers
  • Thursday, vs. Wolves
  • Saturday, at Clippers
  • Monday, vs. Blazers
  • Wednesday, at Wolves

On the flip side, the Wolves are only 1.5 games behind the 4th-place Spurs, although catching them seems less likely even if the Wolves go 4-0 down the stretch to finish 48-34. 

Next Up

Jared Vanderbilt

Shorthanded Timberwolves fall to Atlanta in Monday matinee

D'Angelo Russell scored 31 points, but didn't have much help.

police lights

Man, 72, critical after possible robbery outside Minneapolis business

The 72-year-old sustained gunshot wounds in the incident.


It could take months to vaccinate MN teachers, people 65 and older

"This is going to be harder than going to Ticketmaster and trying to get Bruce Springsteen tickets," Walz said.

Herb Brooks statue

Trump's planned statue garden would include 2 Minnesotans, others with MN links

But there were some notable names absent from the wide-ranging and eclectic list.

k9 zeke

Petition seeks to allow retired Corcoran officer to keep K9 partner

Corcoran's public safety director says if K9 Zeke is donated to the officer it will be a loss for the department.


Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 18

The latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Tom Kelly Jr.

Tom Kelly Jr., son of Twins World Series manager, dies at 42

He was a member of the 2001 UST national championship team.

Hennepin County CSI

Police: Man shot in the head by woman in Richfield

It happened in the early hours of Monday.

University of St. Thomas

St. Thomas students robbed by suspects in ski masks

Nobody was injured in the early Saturday incident.


Wolves win in OT, end unbearable playoff drought

The last Wolves playoff game was May 31, 2004.

ESPN's Zach Lowe: 'Wolves have transformed into a two-way terror'

The Wolves are fading in the playoff picture but Zach Lowe is still raving about them.

ESPN's Zach Lowe: 'Wolves have transformed into a two-way terror'

The Wolves are fading in the playoff picture but Zach Lowe is still raving about them.

Wolves have 28 games to prove doubters wrong, but don't count on it

Minnesota hasn't won more than four straight all season.

Check out the Wolves' clinching and elimination scenarios

Jimmy Butler's return keyed a huge win in L.A. Friday night.

Wolves can start busting bad streaks of 13 in season opener at San Antonio

Minnesota has lost 13 straight against the Spurs. San Antonio rarely loses home openers.