The Timberwolves meet the Nuggets tonight in Denver (9:30 p.m.) in a game with obvious playoff implications — the Wolves (44-34) are tied for seventh in the Western Conference and Denver (43-45) is ninth.


Here are the seven teams battling for the five remaining Western Conference spots:

Team                      W-L   Pct.   GB

4. Utah                     45    33    .571     —
5. San Antonio         45    34    .584    —
6. Oklahoma City     45    34    .577    ½
7. Timberwolves       44    34    .564    1
8. New Orleans        44    34    .558    1
9. Denver                43    35    .545    2
10. L.A. Clippers      42    36    .532    3


The first tiebreaker for two teams is head-to-head record. The Wolves are 4-0 vs. L.A. Clippers and New Orleans; 3-1 vs. Oklahoma City; 2-2 vs. Utah; 2-0 vs. Denver with two games remaining; and 1-2 vs. San Antonio.

Timberwolves remaining games: at L.A. Lakers on Friday, home vs. Memphis on Monday, home vs. Denver on Wednesday.

The Clippers are at Utah tonight in another big Western matchup.

From our friends at the Associated Press:
First-round matchups if the season was over now:
East: 1-Toronto vs. 8-Milwaukee, 2-Boston vs. 7-Washington, 3-Cleveland vs. 6-Miami, 4-Philadelphia vs. 5-Indiana.
West: 1-Houston vs. 8-New Orleans, 2-Golden State vs. 7-Minnesota, 3-Portland vs. 6-Oklahoma City, 4-Utah vs. 5-San Antonio.

The AP also reported a seven-way tie for fourth in the West is still possible, with everyone at 46-36. If that were to happen, one team with that record would get home-court advantage and two teams with that record would miss the playoffs entirely.

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