The NBA Playoffs are almost here and teams will be winning or going home for the next couple of months. This scenario starts a little bit sooner for former Cats Karl-Anthony Towns and Jamal Murray. The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves will meet Wednesday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis with the winner securing a spot in the NBA’s Western Conference playoff bracket. It’s not a winner gets the No. 8 seed situation.
The NBA just released the corrected (hopefully) Western Conference playoff scenarios. pic.twitter.com/UG7so9tbM1
— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) April 10, 2018
There are still a lot of scenarios but the team that wins is in and then all of the other stuff can take care of itself.
Both teams enter the season finale with identical 46-35 records Minnesota is 6-4 in their last 10 games. One of those four losses came at the hands of the hapless Memphis Grizzlies. They were 1-2 against the Grizzlies on the season. No doubt they would love to have either of those two losses back but there’s nothing that can be done about that now.
Meanwhile, Denver went 8-2 in their last 10 to chase down the Timberwolves and force this all or nothing battle.
KAT had to shoulder a lot more of the load when Jimmy Butler was lost to a knee injury for 17 games.
There were no tears shed for him for this. The Western Conference is loaded and teams have been jostling for playoff spots all season long. Fellow BBN legend Anthony Davis had to go into load shouldering mode once again as well when his partner in crime DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season due to injury.
Towns proved that he was up for the challenge by averaging 25.2 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks over that span. The Timberwolves stayed afloat and hovered around .500 with an 8-9 record during Butler’s absence.
He also made Timberwolves history with his historic 56-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks during this time.
Jamal Murray has also raised his game. He’s been immune to the sophomore slump and has increased his numbers across the board in his second season.
He had a bit of an off night (only 12 points) in his last game against the Portland Trail Blazers that the Nuggets found a way to win.
It’s probably safe to say that he will bounce back with a strong performance tonight. It’s probably safe to say the Denver will need that bounce back in order to get a win this evening.
The Nuggets and Timberwolves are both hungry. Neither team has played more than in 82 games in a while. Denver’s last appearance was in 2013. Minnesota hasn’t been there since 2004 when Towns and Murray were 7 and 8 years of age respectively.
I think the home court advantage will be the difference tonight for Minnesota and will help them punch the final post season ticket. It’s a shame that one of these guys will be on the outside looking in at the playoffs looking in. However, whoever loses is undoubtedly poised to make their playoff debut in the very near future.
The NBA playoffs are always fun to watch and this year they’ve given us an early start.