The 1997-98 iteration of the Timberwolves were a bit of landmark in franchise history. Although they had made the playoffs for the first time the previous season, the 97-98 team would be the first to finish above .500, and the first to win a playoff game.
We got a taste of what things could be like before the new year, when the Chicago Bulls came to town on December 30th, 1997. At that time, the Bulls were like travelling rock stars. It was a big event any time they came to your town, and arenas were full across the league to get a look at Michael Jordan and his Bulls.
On this night, however, it would be the young Timberwolves, led by Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, and Tom Gugliotta, who would emerge victorious in front of a delirious crowd. Yes, the Bulls were on the second night of a back to back, and yes they were without Scottie Pippen, but it was still a statement win the likes of which Wolves fans had not seen much of up to that point.
What was especially fun about it was that the Wolves were down and halftime, but worked relentlessly to close the gap and eventually take the lead and finish the game off even against the greatest closer in NBA history.
Marbury features heavily in these highlights with several huge plays, and Garnett makes the dagger jumper late. Note how excited Marbury is when it’s all over.
The Wolves were in the midst of a month long stretch that would see them go 14-3, easily their best sustained run as a franchise up to that point, and while it would be an up and down season after that, they finished strong and ended at 45-37, their best record ever.
Here’s the box score from that night.