Timberwolves

The Wolves Could Develop Rivalries With Their Next Three Opponents

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher (USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are on a four-game winning streak. Yes, you read that correctly. W-I-N-N-I-N-G, thanks in large part to finally finding a way to score over 100 points in a game consistently. Add in their newfound defensive efforts, and the team has been able to win each of their last four contests by double-digit margins.

Yes, grabbing four wins in a row is great, but let’s not act like this team wasn’t on a six-game losing skid earlier this month. And although Minnesota would be in the play-in tournament if the season ended today, its upcoming schedule is anything but friendly for a team clawing to get over .500.

One can only assume that whoever is in charge of assembling teams’ regular-season schedule is a big fan of NBA rivalries. The Timberwolves are set to take on the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, and Philadelphia 76ers within a four-day window. Depending on if the team plays as they have as of late, fans could be in for one of the greatest stretches in recent Wolves’ history or a tough Thanksgiving break.

Miami Heat

It’s hard to believe it was nearly two years ago that then newly-acquired D’Angelo Russell had the game-saving block on Jimmy Butler. It’s even harder to believe that it was only last May when Karl-Anthony Towns gave us the iconic, “Call Rachel Nichols” quote on live television during his back-and-forth with Butler during Minnesota’s 121-112 loss. Safe to say, there is still a ton of “competitiveness” between the two.

With Miami currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference, this will be the Wolves’ first test to see if this current four-game winning streak was merely a product of their opponents. If the Wolves can get their fifth straight win over the Heat, it could signify to everyone associated with this team that they are headed in the right direction.

Charlotte Hornets

Forget all of those fancy electronics, the real Black Friday deal is the matchup between LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards. As many of you remember, Edwards was runner-up in last season’s Rookie of the Year Award race to none other than Ball. A few days ago, Ant spoke on how he felt about coming up short regarding the first season award:

Ant’s response came just a little over a week ago, but dating back to when the NBA announced Ball the 2020-21 ROTY Award winner, it didn’t take long for Edwards to begin re-posting fans’ distaste for the outcome. In no way am I calling Edwards a liar. But I’ll be damned to think he doesn’t have the slightest of sour tastes in his mouth that the award isn’t currently sitting somewhere in his home. If Ant is truly worried about being MVP, Friday’s game against LaMelo and the Hornets could look to be just the place for him to prove not only that, but why he was picked ahead of Ball in last year’s draft as well.

Philadelphia 76ers

Currently, Sixers’ center Joel Embiid has missed Philadelphia’s last eight games due to entering the league’s health and safety protocol back on Nov. 8. But according to CBS Sports’ Michael Kaskey-Blomain, Embiid could look to make his return to game action against none other than Towns and the Timberwolves.

Embiid and KAT have had a long history with one another. From beef on Instagram to the infamous Halloween smackdown of 2019, the two elite big men have had more than a few unfriendly encounters.

Mix in the fact that Towns has hardly been in the conversation of the league’s best center with guys like Nikola Jokic and Embiid, and this game has all the makings of a sort of revenge/comeback game between the two franchises’ bigs.

The success of this team does not completely rely on the win percentage over these next three contests. Good teams win games, regardless of their opponent in front of them. But if this team wants to prove once and for all that they have the necessary talent, they are going to have to start putting together more win streaks like the one they are currently riding high on.

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Photo Credit: Bill Streicher (USA TODAY Sports)

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