National Basketball Association roundup: Timberwolves clinch final playoff spot

Wolves Coach Thibodeau Breaks Down 1st Round Opponent Houston

Wiggins' 17.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his fourth National Basketball Association season just about match the rookie numbers he put up after Cleveland sent him here for Kevin Love, and if the light doesn't go on next year his contract just makes him in the way on a team that scraped into the playoffs.

The Denver Nuggets and host Minnesota Timberwolves will engage in a winner-take-all game tonight on the final day of the regular season.

Both Harden and Paul have struggled in the post-season, but things are different this year in Houston.

Paul Millsap's return from a wrist injury was critical in the late charge, but Denver's young core is the main reason it almost reached the postseason.

Six players are averaging in double figures for the Timberwolves, they are Jimmy Butler (22.2), Karl-Anthony Towns (21.3), Andrew Wiggins (17.7), Jeff Teague (14.2), Taj Gibson (12.2) and Jamal Crawford (10.3). That backcourt duo set the foundation for success in Denver if the team maintains its core over the coming years.

The Nuggets are 39-25 when they score more than 100 points, while the Timberwolves are 43-22. The Nuggets went 9-7 in division games, tied with Portland (which finished third in the West) and better than Utah (7-9) and Oklahoma City (5-11). This Wednesday, the game will be in Minnesota, and Jimmy Butler will be on the court as well. "As long as they're in sync and play together the way they have all season, they can take anyone in the league", said Daniel Salinas, a Rockets fan. The teams have stayed under the total in six of their last eight meetings: given the tenseness that surrounds this game, expect a lot of bricks and a lower scoring game. Barton again provided a spark with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

National Basketball Association roundup: Timberwolves clinch final playoff spot
National Basketball Association roundup: Timberwolves clinch final playoff spot

"I don't want to have that feeling next year", Murray said. They held the Blazers to just 33 points in the second half on Monday night, further galvanizing their belief that not only can they make the playoffs but be a factor once they begin.

If the Nuggets win, the Hawks would have to wait until next season to see if they would get the pick, which would still be a first rounder in 2019 and 2020. The Rockets' two stars will find open shooters if you bring an extra defender to the ball (they assisted on more than 500 3-pointers between them), but they're also happy to play one-on-one against a defense that switches screens.

A career-high 23 points from rookie Luke Kennard helped the Detroit Pistons coast to a 119-87 win over the Chicago Bulls.

They've had to do this the hard way, too.

After using a fourth-quarter spurt to force overtime, the Nuggets faded in the extra five minutes. It's only right that it comes down to one game, and it means the most to us and to this franchise in the long run. Unfortunately, a date with Houston, who beat the Wolves three times this season, is their reward.

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