Setting the stage:
The NBA trade deadline came and went without any roster movement for the Timberwolves, so it is up to the roster that started the season for the Pups to week through the bumps and bruises the rest of the way and try to sneak into the playoffs. I say “sneak in” because there is still a lot of work to do and when the Suns are beating down the Spurs like they did this past week, making the playoffs is going to be no easy task. In fact, that brings us right to this week’s first game.
Game 58: Tuesday, 2/25, 8pm – Timberpups @ Phoenix Suns (TV: FS North)
Both teams will be coming off of games on Sunday night. The Wolves find themselves 6.5 games behind the Suns (and Mavs) for the 8th and final spot in the Western Conference. I still believe Phoenix is the one team that could slip up the rest of the way. You have to think that Minnesota absolutely needs to win this game if you have any hope or belief that the team will make the playoffs. With one loss to the Suns already on this season’s belt, the Wolves can’t drop this one.
Opponent to watch:
Goran Dragic – Dragic very easily could have been an all-star in New Orleans last week. He is putting up monster numbers for the Suns, averaging over 20 points and 6 assists per game to go along with a PER over 22. Can Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea (insert snide comment about the trade deadline here) contain Dragic and give the Wolves a chance in this one?
This will be the third road game in four nights for the Wolves. The Suns have been playing every other night at home for the past week going into this game. The Wolves postseason hopes may depend on this game … but I’ve already declared those hopes to be DOA. Final score: Suns 107, Timberwolves 104
Game 59: Saturday, 3/1, 9pm – Timberpups @ Sacramento Kings (TV: FS North)
In somewhat of a scheduling quirk, the Wolves will have off three days before Saturday’s game in Sacramento. It will be interesting to see if the team flies back to Minnesota or stays on west coast time for the break in action. The Kings will come into this game off of a Friday night meeting with the Lakers in LA. Back in January, the Rudy Gay led Kings upset the Wolves at the Target Center – one of less than a handful of games that we can look back at and say “that shouldn’t have been a loss”.
Opponent to watch:
DeMarcus Cousins – Cousins is having a terrific season from a stats perspective, leading the Kings in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals. (Steals?!) Cousins had a solid game against the Wolves earlier in this season with 20 & 11 but also found himself in foul trouble going against Nikola Pekovic – who should be rounding himself back into form.
It is time to return the favor from January’s home loss. With several days off, the Wolves should have no problem in this one. The concern might be coming off of a deflating loss in Phoenix and seeing woeful body language and demeanor on the court. Final score: Timberwolves 112, Kings 105
Well, you know my thoughts on the Wolves’ season and the rest of the way. Tuesday’s game in Phoenix will either give the positivity police an opportunity to tell me to “go screw” or will have several more fans jumping off the bandwagon. You may want to avoid Twitter on Tuesday night …
Let’s go Wolves!