THE BATTLE IS ON
Much like last season, the NBA’s Western Conference is stacked with playoff-worthy teams. At 24-25, the Wolves would be in prime shape to make the postseason in the East. In the West, it’s a different story. Here’s a look at where things stand entering Sunday’s game against Utah at Target Center:
The Wolves are the No. 11 seed, trailing the Lakers and Kings by a game and sitting three back of the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds, which were shared by the Clippers and Spurs entering Saturday. Utah is in the No. 6 spot, 3.5 games ahead of the Wolves. Utah, San Antonio and the Clippers seem like the most likely targets for the Wolves to try to catch — and that’s assuming they can move past the Lakers and Kings.
But the Spurs used a recent 14-4 stretch to straighten out after an 11-14 start. Likewise, the Jazz has caught fire since a slow start and, according to Basketball Reference, Utah has the easiest remaining schedule in the conference.
That leaves the Clippers — just 10-13 in their past 23 games after a strong start — as perhaps the most vulnerable team. The Wolves have two games left this season against the Clippers — both at Target Center.
After it took 47 wins just for the Wolves to get in as the No. 8 seed last year, it will likely take about 45 wins for the Wolves to have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs. That would mean going 21-12 in their final 33 games.