It’s here! Christmas has come early! The NBA has officially released the first half of the regular season schedule. For the Timberwolves, that means we know how to begin our journey to
Let’s break it down month by month. The short 4-game December is going to be tough, although the Detroit softball to kick things off will be crucial. The Wolves will need the season/home opener momentum to help guide their sails through a brutal 3-game road trip that goes through the Utah Jazz and both Los Angeles teams. I’ll call this 1-3 to start.
This takes us to January, where they return to some much needed home-cooking versus Russell Westbrook’s Washington Wizards (still weird). The kinda-rival Nuggets visit Minnesota before the Wolves pay the favor back at Denver before then veering over to our dear friend Robert Covington’s new home, the Portland Trailblazers. Perhaps another 1-3 stretch here, putting us at 2-6. Not great.
After the trip west, they finally get a much needed 6-day home stand in a pair of games versus the Spurs and Grizzlies. Those games will be tough to call, but I’d say the Wolves could cash in on maybe two of those games at most. The latter half of January is where things slightly ease up, if not just for a bit. The Magic are sandwiched between a pair of Hawks games, followed by the New Orleans Pelicans. I’ll be optimistic and call three, maybe two, games there. Their reward? A set of Andrew Wiggins revenge games in the house that Steph Curry built. Joel Embiid will await Karl-Anthony Towns in Minneapolis for their wrestling rematch before the month closes out with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 6-6 would be a pleasant surprise, totaling out to 8-12.
Then comes February. The Wolves begin on a 5-game road trip, starting with the Wolves-Cavs rematch, before we venture south. The Spurs are up next before a back-to-back pair of Oklahoma City Thunder matchups. It’s okay everyone, Steven Adams and Dennis Schröder no longer live there. However that would be a brutal stretch of 5 games in 7 days, 4 of which are on the road. Luka Dončić will then welcome Minnesota to his home and erase any happy thoughts we thought we had. Not the worst trip ever, with possibly 3-4 wins there. To be fair, we’ll go with a 3-2 record; 11-14.
Despite coming back home for two days, the Los Angeles Clippers refuse to give the Wolves a breather before Minnesota hits the road again. We finally get the Anthony Edwards-LaMelo Ball matchup which will set the world on fire (how you interpret that is up to you). The Wolves then get their first look at the
Tampa Bay Toronto Raptors before coming home to yet another Los Angeles team, the Lakers. The Wolves then draw the Indiana Pacers before rematching the Raptors. They embark on a 4-game road trip east to New York, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Washington. The wrap up the month against the new look CP3-Booker Phoenix Suns. Hard to call this, but I think 5 out of 11 seems realistic which puts us at 16-20.
We get the LaMelo Ball rematch to kick off March and wrap up the 1st half of the season, theoretically setting us at 17-20. That puts us on pace for a 33-39 (.458) season which would be... well, actually kinda good! Is that playoff pace in the hyper competitive Western Conference? For reference, last season the Blazers (.473), Grizzlies (.466), and Suns (.466) vied for that final play-in spot so although I’d be happy with that record, we’d still be on the short end of a postseason stick.
Looking for some silver lining with the second half of the schedule? There would be 35 games remaining and since I have no life, I threw together a simple grid displaying how many times we’d match up with each team through in this first half.
So that means we still have the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, and Sacramento Kings to go through which is an interesting group depending on how you feel about the Nets and Rockets. It’s a pretty equal draw in terms of strong teams we’d have already played against versus weaker teams that are remaining so it’s tough to call it at the half. Will the Wolves get the Celtics/Heat 3 times? Or will they get the Kings thrice? What’s really interesting is that since
The North State Minnesota is so far away from most teams, we have no idea what Adam Silver has in store for us.
At the end of the day, all we know is that Minnesota Timberwolves basketball is back!
What are your thoughts overall on the first half of the Timberwolves’ 2020-2021 schedule?