Western Conference powers clash as Nuggets look to reclaim one seed

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

Tuesday night’s marquee game in the NBA features the Minnesota Timberwolves hosting the Denver Nuggets. Both teams enter the game with equal 47-21 records on the season and they are currently deadlocked for second place in the Western Conference.

They each trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by half a game for the conference lead. The Thunder sit at 47-20 and are clinging to the conference lead, but whichever team wins Tuesday night will pull into a virtual tie for first place.

Timberwolves sliding

The Wolves had been atop the standings for most of the season, but have fallen off a bit lately. They lost Karl-Anthony Towns to an injury in early March, and recently Rudy Gobert has been out as well. 

They’ve won three straight games, but prior to that, they had dropped four out of six, falling back to the pack in the West. They’ll have their work cut out for them on Tuesday night with Denver coming to town.

Nuggets surging

The Nuggets are a league-best 11-2 since the All-Star break. Their only two losses came in overtime to the Suns and on a buzzer-beater by Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks. The loss in Dallas was their last time out, so the Nuggets should be motivated to get back in the win column.

This game will obviously have a big impact on the standings as there are only 14 more games to play for each team. But the Wolves and Nuggets still have two more meetings after this one. They will play again on Friday, March 29th in Denver, and they’ll wrap up the season series in Denver on Wednesday, April 10th.

That final matchup could end up determining a tiebreak between the teams. But there is also a chance that seeding may already be determined and the teams may choose to rest some players. They’ve already met once this season, way back on November 1. 

The Wolves won the first meeting in Minnesota in convincing fashion, 110-89. They shot 27 free throws in that game, while the Nuggets went to the line just 10 times. That feels like a lifetime ago, and we are in for a totally different-looking game this time around.