The next five games could decide whether or not the Minnesota Timberwolves make the postseason for the first time since 2004.
First up is Boston. They are without a doubt one of the best teams in the East. Kyrie Erving is playing at an MVP level and Brad Stevens is working his magic yet again. The Celtics are sitting two games behind Toronto for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. If Kyrie is on, the Timberwolves are in for a long night.
Next up is Golden State, who really needs no introduction at this point, as they might be the best NBA team ever assembled. They score in bunches, can bury you in a hurry and if the Wolves get off to a slow start, they will be down 25 before halftime and it will only get worse from there.
Washington has had a very curious season. John Wall has been injured for a large portion of the season and wont return until later on in March, Bradley Beal has taken over the main playmaking duties and the Wizards are currently sitting in the fourth position in the East with a 37-28 record. This game should be a battle but if the Wolves want to make the playoffs, these are the kinds of games they must have.
Fourth in this stretch of games, San Antonio has now jumped the Timberwolves in playoff standings, currently sitting one spot ahead of Minnesota in the fifth seed. Just .002 winning percentage separates these two teams. With two great coaches and a few perennial all-stars on both rosters, its fair to expect a hard-fought, competitive game. Obviously another must win for the Timberwolves, but on top of the tightness in the standings, the Wolves should win this game because San Antonio is going through a very difficult season wrought with in-house conflict and an injured, unhappy superstar.
Finally, the Wolves take on the Rockets. Houston has the best record in the NBA, the NBA’s leading scorer in James Harden (31 ppg), and a 17 game winning streak. Perhaps the Wolves can break the streak? Perhaps they lose to Houston again?
If the Wolves can go 3-2 during this stretch, they might have enough winnable games remaining on the schedule to sneak into the postseason. If they go 1-4, they are almost assuredly going to be watching from home again this year.