Breaking Down The Wolves' 2012-13 Schedule
The NBA unveiled their 2012-13 team schedules on Thursday—another offseason benchmark meaning the new season is just around the corner. With the Timberwolves continuing to reshape their roster this offseason, the new year could prove to be an exciting time at Target Center. As we prepare for 2012-13, Timberwolves.com broke down some of the key matchups and top games to watch for this season. Included in Minnesota’s schedule are 14 nationally televised games on TNT, ESPN and NBA TV—the most for the Wolves since 2005-06—and 22 back-to-back games. And of course, the 2012-13 season will mark the return to the standard 82-game schedule after playing only 66 games last year during a lockout shortened season.
CLICK HERE to view the full Timberwolves 2012-13 schedule.
Opening Night at Target Center
Last season, the Timberwolves opened up their regular season at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of a packed house at Target Center. This year, the Wolves will again be able to start the year at home. Featuring a revamped line up filled with offseason acquisitions, the Wolves will unveil their new-look roster on Nov. 2 against the Sacramento Kings. The Wolves and Kings split their season series 2-2 last season, with Minnesota winning both home games and losing both road games.
First Road Trip Test
Six of the Wolves’ first 10 games are at Target Center, offering a smooth transition into the 2012-13 season on their home court. But Minnesota will experience one of its two season-long road trips right after that opening three-week period. Minnesota has two four-game road swings this year, the first beginning Nov. 23 at Portland. The Wolves will head to Golden State, Sacramento and the L.A. Clippers on that trip before returning home Nov. 30 against Milwaukee. Minnesota has one other four-game road trip this year, facing Oklahoma City (Jan. 9), New Orleans (Jan. 11), San Antonio (Jan. 13) and Dallas (Jan. 14). They’ll have three other three-game road stints, but this year’s squad will not be away from Target Center for any grueling stretches like last year. In March last season, Minnesota had a seven-game road trip and a stretch of 11 out of 13 games played on the road.
Lakers Come To Town: Feb. 1 & March 27
Your first chance checking out the Los Angeles Lakers this season will be at Target Center on Feb. 1, an 8:30 p.m. tip that will be aired on ESPN. Not only will this be one of two chances to see five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, but it will be the first time both he and newly acquired point guard Steve Nash come to Target Center together. Add in Pau Gasol, and the Lakers once again should be an intriguing matchup here in Minnesota. L.A. will also visit on March 27 as the first game of a four-game home stand which features the Lakers, Thunder, Grizzlies and Celtics.
Linsanity Moves South
The Timberwolves only faced Jeremy Lin once last season when he was with the New York Knicks, but that will be a different story this winter. One season removed from becoming an international sensation on the basketball court, Lin became a member of the Houston Rockets this offseason and will face the Wolves three times overall in 2012-13—twice at Target Center. Minnesota faces Houston at home on Dec. 26 and Jan. 19, and the Wolves will head to Houston on March 15 for a nationally televised game on NBA TV. Minnesota went 3-1 against the Rockets last season.
Two Matchups With The Defending Champs
The Timberwolves have two matchups with the Miami Heat this season, one on the road on Dec. 18 and another at home on March 4. Last year, Minnesota faced Miami just once and it was the third game of the regular season. The Wolves battled back from seven points down to start the fourth to take a 3-point lead with 1:12 remaining. But a last-second alley-oop lay-in from LeBron James to Dwyane Wade helped Miami pick up the 103-101 win.
Four Matchups With The Thunder
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Minnesota will face the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder four times this season, twice at home (Dec. 20 on TNT and March 29) bookending two road matchups (Jan. 9 and Feb. 22 on ESPN). Last year the Thunder won all three matchups with the Wolves, including a 104-100 win on Opening Night and an epic 149-140 double overtime showdown in Oklahoma City on March 23.
Lob City Returns
Minnesota had the Clippers’ number last year for much of the season, winning the first three games against L.A. before falling in the fourth. Two of those wins were memorable nights for Wolves fans in 2011-12: One being the 95-94 win at Target Center on March 5—ending with Chris Paul missing a game-tying free throw with seconds left—and the other being the iconic win of the season as Kevin Love hit the game-winning 3-pointer on Jan. 20, catapulting Minnesota to a 101-98 victory. The Clippers visit Target Center on Jan. 17 (on TNT) and Jan. 30, and Minnesota visits L.A. on Nov. 28 (on NBA TV) and April 10.
Matching Up With The Spurs
The Wolves won the season series 2-1 against San Antonio last season, etching a 106-96 win on Jan. 2 and an 87-79 win on Jan. 27—both at Target Center. A year ago San Antonio rallied off a 20-game winning streak at the end of the regular season through Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and the combination of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is always an intriguing matchup. The Wolves and Spurs face each other four times this season: Jan. 13 at San Antonio, Feb. 6 at Target Center (on ESPN), March 12 at Target Center and in the regular season finale at San Antonio on April 17.
First Look At This Year’s No. 1
There was little drama surrounding who the New Orleans Hornets would take No. 1 overall in this year’s NBA Draft. Kentucky forward Anthony Davis was the consensus top pick, and he headlines a revamped New Orleans Hornets squad which also should include a healthy Eric Gordon and 10th overall pick Austin Rivers this winter. Minnesota has four matchups with the Hornets this year, the first two being Dec. 14 and Jan. 11 on the road and the final two at home on Feb. 2 and March 17.