In a way, the NBA postseason starts in Minnesota on Wednesday night, as the Timberwolves host the Denver Nuggets in what is a de-facto playoff play-in game.
The game will start at about 8:10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on NBA TV. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for a free trial of one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
FuboTV: NBA TV is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: NBA TV is included in the “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can also get an Amazon Fire TV if you want to prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: NBA TV is included in the “Sling Orange” plus “Sports Extra” bundle. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
A few weeks ago, the Nuggets seemed set for another early offseason. After back-to-back losses on March 26 and 27, they trailed Minnesota by two games for the final playoff spot in the West, were still behind the Clippers and had a remaining schedule of seven opponents that were all playoff or potential playoff teams.
But they beat OKC and Milwaukee in back-to-back OT games. They beat the Pacers by three and the Timberwolves by four. They went into Los Angeles and shellacked the Clips. And on Monday, facing elimination, they held Portland to 13 points in the final quarter to secure the 88-82 come-from-behind win.
“Our guys stepped up and understood the urgency of the situation,” Denver coach Mike Malone said after their sixth-straight win.
Minnesota also appeared to be faltering, going 8-9 after Jimmy Butler was forced to undergo knee surgery in late February, but since the star wing’s return, they’ve taken care of business with a 17-point win over the Lakers and 19-point drubbing of the tanking Grizzlies. In those two games, Butler has put up a solid 16.5 points and 3.5 steals in just 22.8 minutes per contest.
Now, in the 82nd and final game of the season, they’ll meet for the final spot in the playoffs. There are still a number of different seeding scenarios, but one thing is for sure: Win, and you’re in. And either way, someone is ending a drought on Wednesday. The Nuggets haven’t been to the postseason since 2013, while the T-Wolves’ playoff-less streak extends all the way back to 2004, when Flip Saunders was on the bench and Kevin Garnett was the MVP.
The T-Wolves, who are 29-11 at home this season, are favored by 3.5 points.