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Tuesday Cup of Canis

With NBA All-Star weekend behind us, it’s officially time for the Timberwolves playoff push.

2022 NBA All-Star - MTN DEW 3-Point Contest Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

The home stretch is upon us...

With the 2022 NBA All-Star game now a thing of the past, it’s time to turn our attention to the final 23 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves as they attempt to climb as high in the Western Conference standings as possible.

As I discussed on Friday, at 31-28, the Timberwolves currently find themselves 7th in the West, 2.5 games out of the 6th seed (which would allow Minnesota to avoid the play-in tournament altogether). While not impossible, it does seem rather unlikely that the Wolves will be able to make up that much ground in the final quarter of the season, which would mean they are far more likely to host a game (or two) in the play-in tournament.

For what it’s worth, our friends in the desert currently have the Timberwolves priced at -525 to make the real playoffs (the bet is processed AFTER the play-in tournament), which is a fairly strong sign that the belief in Minnesota extends further than just the 10,000 lakes region. Of course, if you’re still pessimistic or believe the Wolves will ultimately trip over themselves before the real playoffs start, you can get them at +350 to NOT make the playoffs (little juicy for those of you who enjoy a nice “fandom hedge” like myself).

2022 NBA All-Star - MTN DEW 3-Point Contest Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Timberwolves still have another day or so off before reconvening at Mayo Clinic Square tomorrow for practice prior to their home back-to-back to kick off the stretch run of the season. Taking a quick peak at the remaining schedule shows a mixture of good news/bad news for Minnesota.

The good news is that 15 of their remaining 23 games will be played at home, which obviously decreases the amount of travel and strain put on the body, but also allows Chris Finch to sneak in a full-fledged practice or two during the off days. As the team prepares for some of the first real, meaningful basketball in their careers (i.e. Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid, etc.), the extra time at home should be a nice little competitive advantage.

The bad news? I’m not exactly sure what the Wolves did to piss off the scheduling gods, but they play four sets of back-to-backs in their first ten games back from the break. Moreover, the next six games the Wolves play are all of the back-to-back fashion, with a home back-to-back starting Thursday followed by two sets of road/home back-to-backs next week. Five of those six teams are currently in the playoff mix, so while the team did get some much-needed rest over the weekend, it’ll be short-lived once the ball tips later this week.

Last but not least, I did just want to take a moment to thank all of you who frequent Canis Hoopus for your support, passion, and contributions this year. As I’ve said many times, this has been the most enjoyable season of coverage during my 6+ years at Canis — while the season has no doubt been a rollercoaster, the ability to talk specifically about basketball every day this far into February has been extremely refreshing.

We’re roughly 75% into the season and I have yet to click “Sim Lottery” at Tankathon.com, which to me is a massive win in and of itself. I’m not sure how the rest of this season (and postseason) will play out, but it’s been truly memorable to be on this journey with all of you (as well as all of the Canis staff) and I’m excited to see where this rollercoaster ultimately takes us.

Go Wolves.