The Timberwolves lost in Denver on Thursday night and in doing so, severely damaged their playoff hopes.
Tonight, Jimmy Butler returns to the starting lineup for the Timberwolves in Los Angeles to try and save their season and clinch a spot in the playoffs. Every remaining regular season game is a must win for the Wolves at this point, but what was so disappointing about the loss in Denver on Thursday was the uninterested, nine point sleepwalk from Andrew Wiggins.
Thursday was as close to a playoff type game as you can get without actually playing in the post season and the Wolves’ soon to be max-contract player was non-existent. Perplexing but not surprising, given what we have seen from Wiggins so far in his career. There seemed to be hope that Wiggins would stay engaged because of the playoff atmosphere but that proved to be false in Denver.
Karl-Anthony Towns has been solid but the supporting cast of Teague, Crawford, Tyus Jones and Bjelica has been streaky and inconsistent during this stretch run. Injuries are a part of the game and everyone is banged up, so although some of the Wolves’ current issues can be blamed on injuries, it doesn’t change the fact that they are leading to losses.
It’s clear now that although Karl-Anthony Towns is blossoming into a star, he and the rest of the roster are not enough to get in to the playoffs, not this season anyway. Jimmy Butler is the Wolves last hope and the only player on this roster capable of willing this franchise to where it hasn’t been in 14 years.