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Wolves’ Chris Finch Set to Coach Western Conference in NBA All-Star Game

A victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday clinched the Western Conference leading role for the Timberwolves head man and his coaching staff.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Golden State Warriors Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images

Two weeks out from the All-Star break, the Minnesota Timberwolves are now 35-15 and are tied for the top record in the Western Conference. Not only do Wolves fans get to see two of their own sent to the All-Star Game in Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns — the first time since 2017-18 and just the fifth occurrence in franchise history — but the man managing them on the court is headed to Indianapolis as well.

Head Coach Chris Finch gets the honors as the Western Conference All-Star coach, along with the rest of his staff, for the first time since Flip Saunders coached the game in 2004. The Wolves have been at or near the top of the standings all season, and in first place for the majority of it, shutting down preseason expectations and redefining success in Minnesota.

In standard Wolves fashion, nothing was guaranteed until after the Timberwolves matchup with the Houston Rockets at home Sunday night. With a victory, the Wolves held off the Oklahoma City Thunder from jumping them by record, and Finch edged out Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault for the opportunity to coach the Western Conference All-Stars. The tiebreaker for the All-Star Game coaching spot — unlike the season-long standings — was intra-conference record, in which Minnesota has the edge over OKC. The Thunder own the standings tiebreaker (intra-division record).

The 2023-24 campaign has been a success for Finch as a whole. The synergy between Towns and Rudy Gobert on offense — the most straining storyline of the team dating back to summer of 2022 — has turned in solid results. Edwards has taken a strong leap over the course of the year to reach his second straight All-Star appearance. He commands attention in the locker room while empowering those within it to play without limits.

Since the New Year turned over, Minnesota is just 10-8, with disappointing setbacks in losses to the Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs, as well as barely skating by non-playoff teams in the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets. But wins are wins, and we’ll take them all the same. The Wolves have plateaued slightly following the best 30-game start in franchise history, mostly due to late-game offensive meltdowns that have re-invited ghosts of two seasons past back to Target Center.

But for one Midwestern weekend, Finch gets a change of scenery, interactions with new players across the league and networking with other coaches. Maybe that experience, while continuing to get hands-on work with Towns and Edwards, can get the Wolves back on track to dominate the stretch run before an exciting postseason.

Fans can watch Edwards, Towns and Finch in the All-Star Game on Sunday, February 18 at 7 PM CT on TNT.