The Northwest Division of the Western Conference is full of terrific teams, and two of them are the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets have been around a lot longer than the Timberwolves have, but Minnesota has morphed into a popular NBA franchise. Since Minnesota came into the league in 1989, the Denver Nuggets have become their biggest rival, and the two teams have had some great battles throughout the years. Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett had some epic duels as future Hall of Fame players in this rivalry, and the two teams have battled for supremacy in the division for much of this century. Denver has had a ton of success against Minnesota so far in this rivalry, but odds are that the Timberwolves will eventually turn it around. Denver is once again one of the best teams in the NBA in 2019, while the Timberwolves have a terrific young core that should be great in future seasons. Expect this rivalry to become even more intense as the years go on.
History of Nuggets vs. Timberwolves Rivalry
The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves first met on November 22, 1989, and the Nuggets quickly established their dominance over their new rival. The Nuggets won the first seven games against the Timberwolves and have continued to control them. Denver has posted a 75-94 all-time record in the 124 regular season games against the Timberwolves. Minnesota has gotten the better of the Nuggets in the playoffs, winning the only postseason series against the two teams by a count of four games to one. Preseason predictions often have these two teams meeting up in the postseason, but these picks have not held true other than the 2004 season. The Nuggets have had the better past and look much better in 2018, but don’t count out the Timberwolves in the future.
The Denver Nuggets actually started out as the Denver Rockets in 1967 when the team was founded and joined the ABA. The Nuggets competed in the ABA until 1976, when they made the jump to the NBA and became part of the Western Conference. Denver has yet to lay claim to being the best team in either league, but they have had some periods of consistent success. The Nuggets qualified for the playoffs nine straight years in the 1980s and also made it ten straight seasons from 2004-2013. David Thompson and Dikembe Mutombo are two of the most famous players to wear the Nuggets uniform, and George Karl was a terrific coach for them. They last won a division title back in 2010, but they are massive favorites in 2019 and should be the pick to win it.
Minnesota joined the NBA in 1989 as one of four expansion teams that season. The Los Angeles Lakers were originally from Minneapolis, but this new team was nicknamed the Timberwolves. Minnesota struggled mightily in their first few years until drafting high school senior Kevin Garnett in the 1995 NBA Draft. Garnett will go down as the greatest player in franchise history, and he led the team to the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons from 1997-2004. Garnett did all he could, but he didn’t have enough support around him to ever lead those teams to the NBA Finals. Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in July of 2007, and the franchise hasn’t been the same since that day. The Timberwolves will likely win an NBA Championship at some point, but that doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon.
Head to Head Comparison of Nuggets and Timberwolves
The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are very similar in terms of conference championships and NBA titles, but that isn’t a good thing for either franchise. Neither team has ever won the Western Conference or appeared in the NBA Finals. Both teams have had a few good opportunities throughout the years, but they have never been able to make it to the final series. Denver has won a total of 10 division titles, with the first three won in the ABA. Minnesota won the division title during the 2003-04 regular season when Kevin Garnett was leading the team. The Nuggets have retired 7 jersey numbers and the Timberwolves have retired just two, but Kevin Garnett will have that honor bestowed upon him soon.
Glance at the Last 20 Games Between Denver and Minnesota
The last 20 games between the Nuggets and Timberwolves have been controlled by Denver, but the disparity has been a lot closer than in the all-time series. The Nuggets have won 11 of the last 20 games between the Timberwolves, but Minnesota appears to be closing the gap. Looking at the last 20 games between Denver and Minnesota takes us back to February 12, 2014, with the most recent meeting on February 2, 2019. While this is just a small sample size in the all-time series standings, it can help us make some predictions moving forward. Home teams usually have great success in today’s NBA, but that hasn’t been the case in this rivalry. The Nuggets have gone just 4-5 in their last nine games in Denver against the Timberwolves. Minnesota has also struggled to beat the Nuggets at home, going just 4-7 in their last 11 games against their rival. It always feels weird to pick a road team to win a game on a consistent basis, but it might be the right choice when the Nuggets and Timberwolves meet up.
Detailed Series Splits for Nuggets vs. Timberwolves
Looking at home and road splits and the outright winners of the last 20 games is only a small part of this rivalry. If we look at betting odds and results for the last 20 games between the Nuggets and Timberwolves, we can help to make a prediction for the future games. The first thing to look at is the results from the last 20 games in terms of the over/under lines. Denver and Minnesota have combined to hit the “under” 12 times in the last 20 games, while the “over” has been the correct bet just eight times. The Timberwolves have actually been the favorite for 11 of the last 20 games against the Nuggets, but they haven’t done well in those games. Minnesota has gone just 2-9 against the spread as the betting favorite, which is a huge trend to look at moving forward. The Nuggets have also struggled against the spread as the betting favorite, posting a 2-7 record in the last nine games. Picking the road team and picking against the favorite seems to be the right play when the Nuggets and Timberwolves meet.