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Nuggets at Wolves: All the Marbles

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A win or go home game at Target Center in the final regular season game of the year. Whichever team wins makes the playoffs, loser does not. It’s a big one.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nuggets at Wolves
7:00 pm CDT
FS North Plus and NBA TV

Charlie did a great job this morning writing about what this game means to a long-beleaguered fan base so this is going to be short and sweet.

Wolves vs. Nuggets for a spot in the playoffs. That’s it. That’s what’s at stake tonight. The Nuggets beat the Wolves in their last meeting in Denver in a hard-fought game headlined by an incredible MPE from Devin Harris. That was the last game before Jimmy Butler returned to action, and the Wolves have managed two wins in a row since then—albeit over non-playoff competition.

The marquee match up in this one is the battle of the young centers: Nikola Jokic vs. Karl-Anthony Towns. In their meeting in Denver last week, Towns fouled out after a 26 and 13 performance late in the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets outscored the Wolves 10-3 down the stretch to take the ball game.

Jokic struggled badly with his shot (6-20) but contributed his usual play making with nine assists. Harris and Jamal Murray were the threats from the perimeter, and the Wolves did not get any big performances from anyone not named Towns.

They will need more tonight, and Jimmy Butler’s presence should help at both ends. It would be a good night for Andrew Wiggins, who has been struggling for a while, to find his offensive game as well.

It appears Taj Gibson, who left the Grizzlies game early after hurting his shoulder against the Lakers, will be available tonight, which is good news.

The Wolves can finish anywhere from 6th to out of the playoffs depending on how the night plays out. Win and they are in. Win and see either Oklahoma City or New Orleans lose, they are 7th. If both lose, they are 6th.

Of course, if they lose, the season is over before the playoffs begin for yet another year.

Expected Lineups

Nuggets

Jamal Murray
Will Barton
Wilson Chandler
Paul Millsap
Nikola Jokic

Wolves

Jeff Teague
Jimmy Butler
Andrew Wiggins
Taj Gibson
Karl-Anthony Towns

Our blogging buddies are over at the great Denver Stiffs. Be excellent.

Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.