2013-14 Timberwolves Schedule: What To Watch For
2013-14 Timberwolves Schedule: What To Watch For
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Well Timberwolves fans, it’s September. One month from now, the Wolves will be halfway through their Training Camp stint at Minnesota State University Mankato, and two months from today they’ll have two home regular season games already under their belts.
The season is nearing, and it’s time to take a closer look at what this 2013-14 schedule looks like.
The first things to keep in mind are the milestones and significance of this upcoming season. We’ll talk about this a lot as we head toward April, but this winter marks the 25th year of Timberwolves basketball and the 10-year anniversary of the most successful team in franchise history: The Western Conference Finals squad of 2003-04. The Wolves haven’t been back to the postseason since that run, but it could also be argued the team hasn’t been this close to as deep or dangerous since that season, either. It all builds toward what could be one of the more memorable seasons in team history right around the corner.
Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of some of the key things you need to know heading into the 2013-14 schedule:
Where to watch: 75 on FSN, 13 on national television
- This year, the Wolves have an exclusive partnership with Fox Sports North. FSN will broadcast two of the Wolves’ preseason games (10/07 vs. CSKA Moscow, 10/10 vs. Milwaukee in Sioux Falls) as well as 75 games during the 2013-14 campaign. That’s the most games ever televised on the network. Like last year, the broadcasts will include play-by-play announcer Dave Benz and color analyst Jim Petersen.
- Of those 75 games, 11 will be televised on Fox Sports North Plus. CLICK HERE for the complete FSN Schedule.
- The Wolves will also have 13 nationally televised games, five on ESPN and eight on NBATV. Two of the seven games not scheduled to appear on FSN are currently scheduled to be televised nationally (12/27 vs. Washington on NBATV and 2/7 @ New Orleans on ESPN).
Games to watch for
- Oct. 30 & Nov. 1: The Wolves open up the regular season with a pair of home games at Target Center against Orlando and Oklahoma City, respectively. This is your first chance to see the new-look Wolves in action, and it happens to feature a couple teams of particular interest. In the regular season opener, Minnesota fans will get to see coveted rookie guard Victor Oladipo in an NBA uniform for the first time. And in that Nov. 1 matchup against OKC, Minnesota will try to beat the Thunder at home for the third straight time. They won both Target Center meetings in 2012-13, a 99-93 win on Dec. 20 and a 101-93 win on March 29.
- Nov. 6: One team that took the next step in its development last year was Golden State. Benefitting from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s sharp-shooting, the Warriors reached the Western Conference Semifinals and appear to be in for another strong season. Adding Andre Iguodala into the mix alongside Curry and Thompson as well as David Lee and Andrew Bogut, and the Warriors could be tough to beat this season. Head-to-head with Minnesota, Golden State won all four meetings last year.
- Nov. 10: Will this be the year? The Wolves haven’t beaten the Los Angeles Lakers since March 6, 2007—a span of 22 games. There have been close calls, including a memorable 120-117 loss in their final meeting last year, but L.A. has come out on top every time. Minnesota’s first shot at ending the streak is Nov. 10 at Staples Center during back-to-back games in L.A. against the Lakers and Clippers. But if Minnesota isn’t victorious there, they will have three more opportunities over the rest of the season: 12/20 in L.A., plus 2/4 and 3/28 at Target Center.
- Nov. 22: We’ve got a few storylines to watch in Brooklyn all year considering how the Nets pieced together a myriad of All-Stars in hopes of making a veteran-laden championship run, and a couple of those pieces have Minnesota ties. Brooklyn will roll through town on Nov. 22 with Kevin Garnett on the roster (he made the move to Brooklyn with Paul Pierce via a Celtics trade this offseason), as well as free agent signee Andrei Kirilenko. KG’s returns are always filled with gratitude-filled ovations for his standout years in Minnesota, and Kirilenko quickly became a fan favorite in his one season with the Wolves.
- Dec. 4: The Wolves will play one regular season game in Mexico this season, a Dec. 4 matchup in Mexico City against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA continues to reach into different countries in hopes of further expanding popularity of the league, and the Wolves continue to be internationally relevant with players hailing from seven different countries. On top of that, they’ll be facing the defending Western Conference champions—a team they’ve 4-3 against in the past two years.
- Dec. 7: The Wolves host the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Dec. 7—that’s your lone chance to see four-time NBA MVP at Target Center this year. Nuff said? Minnesota will make its lone trip to South Beach on April 4.
- Jan. 21-27: The Wolves have their first four-game stint away from Target Center beginning Jan. 21 when they travel to Utah, Golden State, Portland and Chicago. That’s going to be a pivotal stretch, because it will include three Western Conference foes that should be in postseason contention as well as a trip to the Windy City, where you’d expect Derrick Rose to be back in action. To add a little extra incentive, the Wolves went 0-14 overall against those four teams last year. Momentum in the NBA can change quickly, and being able to sustain momentum during long road trips is critical for a team hoping to earn a postseason berth.
- Feb. 13-16: This year’s All-Star Weekend is Feb. 13-16 in New Orleans. In each of the past two years the Wolves have sent a pair of players to the Rising Stars Challenge (Alexey Shved, who went last year, is still eligible in 2013-14). Kevin Love also represented the Wolves in the All-Star Game in 2011 and 2012 before suffering injuries last year. Who will get invitations to New Orleans this year?
The Wolves will bookend All-Star Weekend with home games against the Nuggets (2/12) and Pacers (2/19). One recent memorable note: In the team’s final game before the 2012 All-Star Weekend, Minnesota stole a buzzer-beating win against Utah with Luke Ridnour’s memorable floater in the lane over Al Jefferson.
- Feb. 22-March 3: Speaking of long road trips, the team’s longest of the year takes place at the end of February stretching into early-March. That’s when the Wolves will head back to Utah and Portland before traveling to Phoenix, Sacramento and Denver. If the Jan. 21-27 trip was important, this one is even more so given it takes place after the All-Star Break and essentially kicks off the stretch run. And on top of that, it’s a trip through the Mountain and Pacific time zones against five different Western Conference foes. A lot of ground could be made or lost during this road trip. Minnesota went a combined 3-7 last year in those five arenas.
- April 16: Minnesota’s final game of the regular season is April 16 vs. Utah. More than likely we’ll know by then if the Wolves are in or out of the playoffs, but there is always the chance this will be a game that either decides if the Wolves make it in or if they move up or down a spot. There are a lot of games to be played between now and then, but the Timberwolves hope this will be the final tune-up before a long-awaited Best of 7 series.
What better way to spend your winter holidays than watching hoops? You’ll have a couple opportunities this season:
- Thanksgiving: The Wolves will play Wednesday, Nov. 27 at home against Denver and travel to Dallas on Saturday, Nov. 30 during Turkey Day Weekend.
- New Year’s Day: The Wolves host New Orleans on New Year’s at Target Center. Watch your Bowl Games in the morning and afternoon, then get prepped for Minnesota’s very first game against the Pelicans.