The Week Ahead | Big Week For Playoff Push
Wolves vs. Blazers, 7 p.m.
FS North, 830 WCCO
Why you should attend: Because each game is extremely important as both teams have their eye on the eighth seed in the West. The Blazers go into the game with a 26-35 record, just 1.5 games back from the eighth seed. The Wolves are 25-37, three games back. There are only 20 games left in the season. Every game, especially ones against teams also fighting for that final seed, is ridiculously important for each team.
Opposing player I’ll be watching: Since being traded from Denver to Portland, center Jusuf Nurkic, AKA The Bosnian Bear, has been an absolute monster. In six games (five starts) for the Blazers, he’s averaging 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the field. Whether it’s Karl-Anthony Towns or Gorgui Dieng, whoever is guarding Nurkic will have their hands full.
*Update: Game has been postponed due to unsafe conditions on the playing court.
Wolves vs. Clippers, 7 p.m.
FS North, 830 WCCO
Why you should attend: The Clippers have two stars who have been here for a while in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Wolves have two up-and-coming stars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. And while the Clippers have had plenty of success through the years, time is ticking on their chances for a championship, but with Kevin Durant’s recent injury, who knows what could happen in the West. The Clippers are just a game back from the Jazz for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Opposing player I’ll be watching: I like Duke basketball. Does that make me the worst person in the world? Maybe. But growing up, I was a huge J.J. Redick fan and despite a slow start to his career, Redick has averaged double digits in seven straight seasons. He’s shooting 41.3 percent from the 3-point line in 2016-17. If the Wolves want to upset the Clippers, they’ll have to make sure Redick doesn’t get hot.
Also, if you’re a basketball fan, I recommend listening to Redick and Bill Simmons in this podcast.
Wolves vs. Warriors, 7 p.m.
FS North, NBA TV, 830 WCCO
Why you should attend: I know, I know. Durant isn’t playing and that stinks. But it’s still the Warriors! Steph Curry has won back-to-back MVPs. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are still All-Stars. And we are about a year out from when the Wolves upset the Warriors in Golden State. It’d be special if the Wolves could do it at home in front of a packed Target Center.
Opposing player I’ll be watching: Let’s get this out of the way first. Curry is still a top-5 player in the NBA. He’s having a “down” season to his standards, averaging 24.8 points per game, down five from last season while shooting 40 percent from the 3-point line, down 5.4 percent from last season. Curry goes into this week in a bit of a slump, shooting 4-for-31 from the 3-point line from Feb. 27 to March 2. Of course, the Warriors play the Knicks, Hawks and Celtics before playing the Wolves, so that slump could be long in the rearview by the time Curry faces off against Ricky Rubio and the Wolves.
Wolves at Bucks, 7 p.m.
FS North, 830 WCCO
Why you should watch: It'd be nice if one day we could make the Bucks and Wolves a border-state rivalry. Being in different conferences, it's tough. But if you watch, that could help!
Opposing player I’ll be watching: Michael. Paul. Beasley. You may recall when Beasley played for the Wolves from 2010-2012. He enjoyed his best season with the Wolves in 2010-11 when he averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Sure, he didn’t live up to the hype when he was drafted second overall in the 2008 draft, but he’s still a very solid player. As of March 5, Beasley is averaging 9.7 points per game in 50 games for the Bucks while shooting 42.1 percent from the 3-point line. He enters the week with a hyperextended left knee, so his status is uncertain. But if he does play, it will be a chance for Wolves fans to see a familiar face. And whether or not he plays, we’ll always have this.