By: Seth Toupal
As the season comes to a close the Minnesota Timberwolves can finally breathe a sigh of relief, kind of. The Wolves just navigated the toughest portion of their schedule; a brutal 7 game stretch against some of the top teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences. The Wolves went just 2-5 through the stretch, but considering the teams they matched up against, most are just glad it’s finally over.
The combined record of those teams stands at 320-170 (.653). The Wolves were outscored 801-762 during “The Gauntlet” (114 PPG allowed). Now that this daunting stretch is over it is time that we ask “What’s next?” Here is what the Wolves have on the schedule for the final 11 games of the regular season:
The combined record of the remaining opponents on the Wolves schedule is 327-437 (.428). In other words this is the time of the year the Wolves must capitalize and take care of their own destiny. The only games in this stretch that are questions are the games against the Clippers, 76ers, Jazz and Nuggets. Assuming the Wolves are able to beat the Knicks, Memphis (2x) Hawks, Mavericks and Lakers, what would put the Wolves at 46-31. The Wolves would then have the remaining 5 games to contend with.
It seems more and more likely that 48-50 wins is going to be the playoff benchmark in the loaded Western Conference. And although the Wolves road to the finish line is a little easier than the rest of the pack, we can be pretty much guaranteed we won’t get any help because we sure haven’t received any so far during this stretch run. So if the Wolves are going to end up in the playoffs, it seems only fitting that they take care of business and finish with a flourish.
Seth is host of The Scoop on KLGR Radio out of Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Listen to episodes of The Scoop here.