If the Timberwolves are to have a fast start, they’ll have to learn how to win on the road. In a hurry.
The Wolves open the regular season with road games at the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver, and play four of their first six and seven of their first 12 games on the road.
The season-opening Oct. 28 game against the Lakers features the top two picks in this year’s draft — Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota and D’Angelo Russell of the Lakers; the game will be televised on ESPN.
The Wolves’ home opener will be Nov. 2 against Portland.
Of the Wolves’ first five home games, three are against 50-plus-win teams of a year ago: Portland, Golden State and Memphis. The Wolves’ second road trip of the season takes them to two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference last season: Chicago on Nov. 7 and Atlanta on Nov. 9.
In addition to the home opener against Portland, here are other highlights of the home schedule:
• Defending NBA champion Golden State visits Target Center on Nov. 12 and March 21.
• Cleveland, with LeBron James and ex-Wolf Kevin Love, will be in Minneapolis on Jan. 8.
• Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs will visit Dec. 23 and March 8.
The Wolves will play 12 nationally televised games, including one on TNT, four on ESPN and seven on NBA TV. On the good-news front, Minnesota will play only 14 back-to-back games, compared with 19 last season.
The April schedule on paper looks difficult, with the Wolves playing three of their final five games on the road, including an April 5 date at Golden State. Minnesota does close the season with two home games, but they are against Houston and New Orleans, both playoff teams last season.