Timberwolves 2021 Schedule: Top Games, Updated Championship Odds and Predictions

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is shown during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif. Towns says his mother is hospitalized and in a medically-induced coma after contracting the new coronavirus. Towns talked about his mother's condition Wednesday, March 25, 2020, on his Instagram page and urged his followers to take COVID-19 seriously and practice social distancing.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

It was a tough first half for the Timberwolves

Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns missed a significant chunk of time, and the young Wolves struggled, jumping out to just a 7-25 mark to this point. It was bad enough that former head coach Ryan Saunders was replaced with Chris Finch in February. 

Yes, there have been bright spots. Malik Beasley's play has been a revelation. Top overall pick Anthony Edwards has shown flashes of stardom. D'Angelo Russell gives the team an excellent No. 2 option on offense, and the Wolves have built an intriguing young core. 

But they also find themselves at the bottom of the NBA standings, yet again. Below we'll take a look at the schedule they'll face as they look to climb out of the cellar. 

                 

2020-21 Timberwolves Second-Half Schedule Details

Second-Half Opener: at New Orleans Pelicans, Thursday, March 11, 8 p.m. ET

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Championship Odds: +25000, per FanDuel (bet $100 to win $25,000)

Second-Half Schedule: NBA.com

                     

Top Matchups

Golden State Warriors (April 29)

This matchup is all about seeing the No. 1 pick from the 2020 draft (Edwards) taking on the No. 2 selection, Warriors center James Wiseman. 

The Warriors won the first two matchups, though neither Edwards or Wiseman put their stamp on the first contest. Both were excellent in the second game, however:

  • Game 1 (Jan. 25): Edwards (15 points on 4-of-13 shooting in 27 minutes); Wiseman (13 points, four rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes). Both players came off the bench. 
  • Game 2 (Jan. 27): Edwards (25 points, three steals in 32 minutes); Wiseman (25 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes). Both players again came off the bench. 

Neither team is having buyer's remorse at this point. Yes, No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball has been excellent for the Charlotte Hornets, but it appears the Wolves and Dubs got keepers of their own with the first two picks. Seeing these young guns go at it may be a secondary storyline behind the star matchup of Steph Curry and Karl-Anthony Towns, but Edwards and Wiseman will be forever linked based on their draft placement. 

Another matchup between the two will be fun to watch. 

             

Los Angeles Lakers (March 16)

Yes, you always want to see how your team fares against the defending champs. But this one will be fun in particular because it's the chance to see two of the best big men in basketball, Towns and Anthony Davis, lock horns once again. 

Neither player was available in the first matchup between the teams, a 127-91 Lakers win. Only Towns played in the second matchup on Feb. 16, a 112-104 win for the Lakers. Towns went for 15 points and six boards.

And yeah, it's a chance for Wolves fans to see that LeBron James guy in action, too. He remains pretty good. You always want to give the defending champs your best shot, and this will be another look at how the young Wolves respond to that challenge.

                  

Second-Half Forecast

On one hand, the return of Towns is important, and the Wolves are obviously better with him again available. On the other hand, last year's Wolves were 10-25 in games he played. Having him healthy isn't enough to vault this team into postseason consideration given the hole they've already dug.

Yes, this roster is better. That team didn't have D'Angelo Russell until February and didn't have Edwards at all. But the Wolves are also trying to claw their way up a loaded Western Conference. They've yet to prove they can win consistently with this group. 

Better days are coming in Minnesota. They just appear likely to be in future seasons. 

                    

Prediction

The Wolves finish 21-51. 

   

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