A roller coaster season in Minneapolis is currently sitting at another low-point after four straight losses. A brutal, winless road trip last week (too many of those this season) brought the Wolves’ chances of making the playoffs down to 1.7% according to ESPN’s BPI Playoff Odds.
The only way the Wolves might be able to fight their way back into the playoff race (against all odds) is a 2-0 week at home starting with a win over the Clippers tonight and another victory on Wednesday over Houston. That would push their record to 27-30 as the All-Star break hits, providing nine more days of rest to work with.
That time off would hopefully bring the return of multiple players dealing with injuries. This, of course, is the most hopeful path forward for those still dreaming about making the playoffs. Likely? Obviously not. This is Timberwolves, Jake. We’re working with 1.7% here. They would have to have to go on an unlikely run over the last 25 games to even limp into the postseason, which would bring another opportunity to get destroyed in the first round by the #1 seed in the West. Hooray for accomplishments!
All of the point guards besides Tyus Jones (this would’ve been a perfect time for him to take advantage of major minutes) are expected back tonight (Teague, Rose, Bayless) which obviously should help. Isaiah Canaan signed a second 10-day contract with the team to help hold down the PG spot in the interim.
After an active trade deadline that saw the Clippers wheeling and dealing with all eyes on the future — most notably trading Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic to Philadelphia for a package highlighted by rookie guard Landry Shamet, Philadelphia’s own 2020 protected first-round pick and an unprotected 2021 first-round pick via the Miami Heat — their recent win over the Celtics was the largest comeback in franchise history.
Take that for data! In the words of Thibs, Doc and the Clippers still have More Than Enough to win.
Clippers PR posted the following note in today’s pre-game notes: With their 25-point comeback on 2/2 at Detroit and their 20-point comeback on 2/5 at Charlotte, L.A. became the only team in over 20 seasons with three 20+ point comeback wins in a five-game span.
Another note: Clippers reserves lead the NBA with 51.6 points/game this season, on pace for the highest scoring average by a reserve unit in over 30 seasons.
Keep an eye on Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams off the Clippers bench. Those are two obvious candidates to absolutely crush the Wolves.
At 31-26, the Clippers sit in the 8th spot. That’s 5.0 games ahead of Minnesota.
What does Vegas think?
Wolves are currently favorites at -4 with a -180 Money Line and the Over/Under is set at 232. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor has the Wolves at 62.3% win probability.
Projected Starting Lineups (updated)
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Josh Okogie
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Dario Saric (!!!!!)
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
G: Patrick Beverly
G: Garrett Temple
F: Danilo Gallinari
C: Ivica Zubac
The following is an UPDATED Minnesota Timberwolves Injury Report in advance of tonight’s game vs. the L.A. Clippers:
Jerryd Bayless – Sore Right Big Toe
Derrick Rose – Right Ankle Soreness
Jeff Teague – Left Foot Soreness
Robert Covington – Right Knee Bone Bruise
Tyus Jones – Left Ankle Sprain
Andrew Wiggins - Illness