And then it came down to one. After 81 games of a season, it comes down to the last game between the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves to determine who goes on to play in the postseason, and who goes home. On Wednesday night, the Nuggets (46-35) travel to the Target Center to take on the Timberwolves (46-35), with the tipoff scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.
Due to tiebreaker scenarios, for the Nuggets, if they win they are simply in as the 8th seed. For the Timberwolves, though, they actually could move up a couple spots depending on the outcomes of other games, most notably the Spurs/Pelicans and the Thunder/Grizzlies games. Regardless, both teams can’t be thinking about the what-ifs, because without a win, they will be watching the playoffs from their living rooms.
The spread comes in at the Denver Nuggets +3 and the Minnesota Timberwolves -3. The over/under for total points scored is set at 214.5.
Nuggets In If They Can Even Season Series
On Wednesday, the Nuggets will look to even the season series after having dropped the first two meetings of the season, before winning on April 5th 100-96. In that game, Jamal Murray led the way for the Nuggets with 22 points and Nikola Jokic added 14 rebounds. One of the great things about this team is the balanced attack. They have 6 players who average double figure scoring (Will Barton 15.6, Wilson Chandler 10.1, Gary Harris 17.6, Nikola Jokic 18.2, Paul Millsap 14.7 and Jamal Murray 16.7). In fact, in their last six games (all wins), they have had four different leading scorers.
While Will Barton and Jamal Murray have been playing fantastically down the stretch, a lot of this game will depend on the success of Nikola Jokic. The 23 year old, 6’10” center has been playing well all season. He is averaging 18.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 0.8 blocks per game. In a game that features Karl-Anthony Towns on the other side, Jokic is going to have to come up huge.
Minnesota Looking to Lock Down Playoff Spot
As previously mentioned, the Timberwolves lost their last game against the Nuggets on April 5th. While no loss is good (especially when this game would not mean anything had they won), the silver lining is that they were without Jimmy Butler in that game. The other two games this year against the Nuggets, both wins, Butler averaged 32 points, 4.5 assists, and 3 rebounds. With a healthy Butler, it might be just enough to end the Nuggets’ season.
Nothing is going to be handed to the Timberwolves. They are 4-4 in their last 8 games and have let several chances to secure a playoff spot slip through their hands. The Timberwolves will rely on Butler (22 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game) and Karl-Anthony Towns (21.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game) to win in their regular season finale.
Minnesota Uses Home Court Advantage
While the Nuggets have been the hotter team, I just think that Butler, Towns-Anthony, Andrew Wiggins, and company will be too much for them. I think the Nuggets will try to keep it interesting, but I am taking the Timberwolves -3.
If betting the over/under on total points, I am going with the over. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in scoring (around 110 points per game for both) and field goal percentage (both a little over 47%). I think both teams will leave everything on the court and see them covering the 214.5. My Picks: Minnesota Timberwolves -3 and bet on the over. Take the over.