Playoff watch: Wolves miss chance to move up
The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to end a 13-year NBA playoff drought. There’s no certainty yet of this happening and things have definitely gotten more interesting over the last week.
With the season ending in just over a week (April 11), here’s the latest look at Minnesota’s playoff chances and the week ahead.
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY
Playoff drought over! Minnesota would be the No. 7 seed and take on the Golden State Warriors, who would have home-court advantage.
The first two seeds in the Western Conference are all but locked up (and No. 3 is looking pretty locked in too) but the Wolves are one of seven teams battling for the fourth through eight seeds. Minnesota is currently the seventh seed, but is just a half-game ahead of No. 8 New Orleans, a half-game behind No. 6 Utah and a game behind No. 5 Oklahoma City.
Here’s the how the playoff race currently shapes up including game remaining (GR) for each team:
The Wolves could have climbed as high as No. 4 had they taken care of business last week, but losses to Memphis and Utah dropped Minnesota all the way down to No. 7. Still, just three games separate No. 4 San Antonio and No. 9 Denver, so there’s obviously still plenty of potential for movement over the next week.
Portland: Tuesday — at Dallas; Thursday — at Houston; Saturday — at San Antonio
San Antonio: Tuesday — at L.A. Clippers; Wednesday — at L.A. Lakers; Saturday — vs. Portland
Oklahoma City: Wednesday — vs. Memphis; Friday — at Phoenix; Saturday — at Golden State
New Orleans: Wednesday — vs. Memphis; Friday — at Phoenix; Saturday — at Golden State
Utah: Tuesday — vs. L.A. Lakers; Thursday — vs. L.A. Clippers; Sunday — at L.A. Lakers
Minnesota: Thursday — at Nuggets; Friday — at L.A. Lakers
Denver: Tuesday — vs. Indiana; Thursday — vs. Minnesota; Saturday — at L.A. Clippers
L.A. Clippers: Tuesday — vs. San Antonio; Thursday — at Utah; Saturday — vs. Denver
THE WOLVES PERSPECTIVE
The Wolves are 2-0 against the Nuggets this season, but Jimmy Butler was a major factor in both, and the second took overtime. They’re 3-0 against the Lakers this season. Speaking of Jimmy Buckets, he was cleared for contact last week, and could be back in the lineup soon. Despite their failure to capitalize last week, Minnesota still has a relatively tame schedule the rest of the way. Their .442 strength of schedule is the second-easiest in the Western Conference, behind only New Orleans.
The website playoffstatus.com currently calculates Minnesota’s playoff chances for each seed as the following:
3 – Less than 1 percent (last week: 7 percent)
4 – 9 percent (last week: 27 percent)
5 – 27 percent (last week: 25 percent)
6 – 27 percent (last week: 17 percent)
7 – 21 percent (last week: 12 percent)
8 – 12 percent (last week: 8 percent)
Out – 5 percent (last week: 3 percent)