By: Louie Vicchiollo
The Timberwolves have 10 games left in the regular season, and as they currently sit in 7th, with just two games separating them and the 9th place Nuggets, each one of these final games have an increased amount of importance. The Timberwolves are still without Jimmy Butler, who mentioned earlier this week that a possible regular season return might be in store, but they will have to battle the Knicks without their superstar.
One thing that should be noted about the Wolves schedule, is that they just finished a brutal 33-game gauntlet, as pointed out by reddit user u/Granny_Danger: "The Wolves have officially wrapped up their most daunting extended stretch of the season: 33 games that started January 5th. Those 33 matchups included 24 games versus playoff bound teams, 15 (!!) of which came against groups in the top 3 of their conference (TOR, BOS, CLE, HOU, GSW, POR). They were without Jeff Teague for three of those games (2-1), and without Jimmy Butler for 10 of them (5-5). The wounded Wolves finished that stretch 17-16, and have certainly stayed afloat with Jimmy out."
The Knicks currently sit at 11th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 26-46. They are 2-8 in their last 10, and what may be more important to Knicks fans: according to Tankathon.com, they would currently select 9th in this year's upcoming draft. Kristaps Porzingas has been out since February 6th, and the New York fans already have their eyes set on recently NBA-declared freshman Trae Young from Oklahoma, who said "it would be a blessing to be drafted by the Knicks".
What: Wolves @ Knicks
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
When: 6:30 PM CT
Where to watch: FSN
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for:
A must win (?): The Wolves are towards the end of a packed Western Conference playoff race, and just finished their most difficult stretch of the season. It is imperative to win as many games as possible for the rest of the season, especially against teams that the Timberwolves should be able to handle easily even with Jimmy Butler out. FiveThirtyEight gives the Wolves a 65% chance to win tomorrow night, so it is a game the Wolves very reasonable can cash out on.
Battle of the bigs: Not only will big men battle it out tomorrow night in Karl-Anthony Towns and Enes Kanter, but the big contracts that were paid out this year, Andrew Wiggins and Tim Hardaway Jr. should be a fun comparison throughout the night.
Karl-Anthony Towns has taken 15+ field goals his last 5 games. Look for this to continue tonight.
Derrick Rose is expected OUT with an ankle sprain suffered last game.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Nemanja Bjelica, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Boston: PG Emmanuel Mudiay, SG Courtney Lee, SF Tim Hardaway Jr., PF Michael Beasley, C Enes Kanter
Wolves win. 107-102
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.