The Wolves have been acting like they're locked on cruise control en route to home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs when in reality they're on a one-way street and going the wrong direction.
Either they start winning games they're supposed to, or they can kiss a top-four seed in the Western Conference goodbye.
Friday's loss to the tanking Bulls was the latest in a string of unacceptable losses. Look at this mess.
- Nov. 11: 118-110 loss at Phoenix
- Dec. 4: 95-92 loss at Memphis
- Dec. 16: 108-106 home loss to Phoenix
- Jan. 3: 98-97 loss at Brooklyn
- Jan. 16: 108-102 loss at Orlando
- Jan. 29: 105-100 loss at Atlanta
- Feb. 9: 114-113 loss at Chicago
If home-court advantage were hiring, it would toss a résumé with that on it in the trash.
Seven awful losses. Seven inexplicable losses.
Imagine where the Wolves would be with 5-7 additional wins.
- Five more wins would have them at 39-19, two games ahead of San Antonio for third place in the West.
- Seven more and they would be 41-17, in a battle with Houston for the No. 2 seed – and within striking distance of the 42-13 Warriors.
Instead, the Wolves sit uncomfortably in fourth place, just two games ahead Portland and Oklahoma City, and only 3.5 games in front of the seventh- and- eighth-seeded Clippers and Nuggets.
March could kill home court
It's in March where the Wolves' laundry list of bad losses could rear its ugly head. Look how daunting the first half of March is for Minnesota.
- Mar. 1: at Trail Blazers
- Mar. 2: at Jazz
- Mar. 8: vs. Celtics
- Mar. 11: vs. Warriors
- Mar. 13: at Wizards
- Mar. 17: at Spurs
- Mar. 18: vs. Rockets
- Mar. 20: vs. Clippers
Ricky Rubio's Jazz are the only team above not currently in a playoff position. They're also the hottest team in the NBA with eight straight wins.
Because Jimmy Butler and company keep losing to bottom feeders, there's very little reason to believe they'll overcome that brutal stretch to maintain home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Finish February strong
The rest of February favors the Wolves, with four of six at Target Center, including an opportunity to show some resolve against James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets on Tuesday.
- Feb. 11: vs. Kings
- Feb. 13: vs. Rockets
- Feb. 15: vs. Lakers
- Feb. 23: at Rockets
- Feb. 24: vs. Bulls
- Feb. 26: at Kings
Minnesota should go into March with at least 38 wins. Anything less will be disappointing.