Wolves Playoff Watch Viewing Guide | March 7, 2018
On Tuesday the Wolves’ playoff push finally got a little help from the rest of the league when Yogi Ferrell forgot that the Mavericks were the underdogs, going 6-for-7 from beyond the arc and leading Dallas to a win over the Nuggets.
Who could tonight’s hero be? Victor Oladipo? Zach Randolph? Who are we kidding, it’s going to be LeBron James.
Let’s take a look at who you should be rooting for in the NBA tonight.
Jazz at Pacers, 6:00 p.m., League Pass
The Jazz just keep winning! Donovan Mitchell is continuing to build his case for Rookie of the Year, and Rudy Gobert has been reminding us all why we nicknamed him the “The Stifle Tower.” Utah’s resurgence is, of course, bad news for the Wolves.
But there’s hope!
The Pacers are hot as well, riding a three-game win streak and fighting to hold onto home court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
When Indiana traded Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, sentiment throughout the league was that they were robbed, but both players have embraced larger roles with the Pacers and changed the direction of the franchise. Oladipo is widely considered to be a lock for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, and made his first All Star team this year, boasting averages of 24.0 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.2 steals. Not bad.
And don’t forget about Myles Turner—who is having a bit of a down season, but still averaging over two blocks per game—or all-time mind games master Lance Stephenson. Stephenson is most famous (infamous?) for blowing in LeBron James’ ear and joining the Heat huddle during the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, but he has an undeniable ability to shut down opposing stars.
Wolves fans—you’re Pacers fans tonight.
Pelicans at Kings, 9:00 p.m., League Pass
For a brief moment it seemed like the NBA had forgotten about Anthony Davis. Now everybody is paying attention.
It’s difficult to find words to describe Davis’ play lately. He has always been good, but right now he looks like an all-time great. Over his last nine games Davis is averaging 37.7 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.8 blocks. Those numbers are insane.
Davis has led New Orleans on a nine-game winning streak, bringing them from the brink of playoff contention to the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Jrue Holiday has also been playing well after being moved to shooting guard, and Rajon Rondo is turning back the clock and reminding us all why he was once considered one of the best point guards in the league.
Wolves fans are hoping their incredible run stops tonight.
That’s a tall order playing against the lowly Kings, but maybe Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph will be able to slow Davis down? Hold on, say that sentence again. The Kings did beat the Pelicans the last time they met, but that was before Davis unlocked whatever cheat codes he’s been using and Alvin Gentry found Rondo a time machine, so this one feels like a longshot.
Cavaliers at Nuggets, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Very interesting game here.
The Nuggets are playing on the second night of a back-to-back after being defeated by the aforementioned Yogi Farrell three-point barrage, but they are playing at home, and the elevation in Denver gives them a real advantage. They also just beat the Cavs handily in Cleveland over the weekend.
On the other hand, Cleveland has LeBron James. They also (justifiably) think that nobody believes in them. Never underestimate the power of a motivated and rested King James, who is quietly averaging a triple-double over his last 10.
Ty Lue moved Larry Nance Jr. (wearing his father’s un-retired number), into the starting lineup against the Pistons on Monday, and he responded by dropping 22 points and 15 rebounds as the Cavs demolished the struggling Pistons. The LeBron-Nance connection seems real, so hopefully they’ll be able to channel that momentum into a win against the tired Nuggets.
Only one more night before the Wolves take the court again! If the Pelicans lose, the Wolves could be playing for a chance to regain homecourt advantage.