It’s been quite a season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. After adding All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to their young and talented duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves have finally had the breakout season they’ve been flirting with the past few years, at one point climbing as high as No. 4 in the Western Conference standings and just generally proving they can compete with the NBA’s elite squads.
And on Friday night with their 108-104 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, they assured that they’ll finish with a winning record for the first time since the ’04-’05 season.
Towns led the way with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks, while converting two of his three attempts from downtown. Minnesota got a balanced effort all around, as Taj Gibson put in 18 points and seven rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and 11 boards despite a rough shooting night.
Though this will mark the franchise’s best season finish since the heyday of Kevin Garnett, the team still has one more hurdle to clear before they can truly consider it a success. The Timberwolves currently hold the No. 7 seed in the West, but they have a tenuous two-game lead on the ninth-place Denver Nuggets.
Minnesota hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 2004, which was Garnett’s lone MVP season. Failure to secure a postseason berth would be a major disappointment for a team that has made such significant strides this season. With just nine games remaining, they’ll need to be more focused than ever to achieve that goal.