The last day of the regular season in the NBA will see some interesting matchups, but none more ‘big time’ than the meeting between the Wolves and the Nuggets. This is a do or die clash, as the winner will qualify for the playoffs, while the loser will miss out.
The Wolves (46-35, 29-11 home) have been struggling in the last couple of months and are finding themselves in a position where they could miss the playoffs, after being considered (and placed) as a Top 4 team in the West for most of the season. However, Minnesota recently got back Jimmy Butler, whose absence was a big reason for their struggles. The Wolves have now won their last two games convincingly, although they faced poor team in the form of the Grizzlies and the Lakers.
The Nuggets (46-35, 15-25 away) have made a really unlikely run in the last couple of weeks and find themselves in playoff contention after previously seeming down and out. Denver has won its last 6 games, including a few against very tough opposition, and will surely feel confident coming into this clash. They aren`t a good road team, but they got some big road wins recently and morale in the team must be extremely high after all these victories.Bet on Timberwolves vs Nuggets and get a 100% (100 Eur) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news: Taj Gibson is questionable for the Wolves. You would expect him to play in such a big game, but that`s still unclear. He would be a notable absence, but far from game changing, as Bjelica and Deng can make up for his production at PF. The Nuggets are at full strength.
Minnesota is a different team with Jimmy Butler and his recent comeback might be the push they needed to make the playoffs. The Wolves played well in their last two outings and will feel that they are one of the best teams in the league when at full strength.
Denver will come into this match as an in form and confident side, and that must be respected. They are playing well and are sure to put up a fight. But beating Minny on the road in a decisive game might be too much.
This Nuggets side is still a young team with little playoff experience in their ranks, and they are also usually a poor road team. They won 6 in a row overall, but only two were away from home, one of them against a dejected Clippers side, the other one by 1 point vs the Thunder.
Denver also got a bit fortunate during this winning run, as 5 of their 6 wins came by 6 points or less. That speaks about their confidence and character, but there`s no doubt they also had their fare share of luck.
One of those wins was last week against today`s opponent, Minnesota. Denver barely won by 4 points at home despite Minnesota not having Jimmy Butler. Denver will face a much more difficult task today.
Ultimately you have to feel that home court advantage will be key here, especially considering Minnesota’s strength at home and Denver`s struggles on the road. Minny is also the better team, and having a veteran leader with playoff experience like Jimmy Butler will be very important in such a big game.
My tip is the Wolves to win and qualify for the playoffs instead of the Nuggets. Odds for the straight win are solid, so in my opinion there`s no point risking the 3 point handicap, particularly considering how many close games Denver played recently, and how big this matchup is.
It could be close, but Minnesota`s superior quality, the home court advantage and Minny having more players with big game experience should be the factors which will determine a home win. Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves – Denver Nuggets 112 – 105.