Finally, Timberwolves back in playoffs!

As I lay in an Intensive Care Unit at Abrazo Arizona Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona in January, I said to myself, “I can’t go out like this. The Super Bowl is February 4 in my town, Minneapolis, and the Vikings could be in it. And the Timberwolves are sure to be a playoff team for the first time since 2003-2004.”

When your world appears to be closing in on you, the mind reminds you this could be a special year. It has been all that, and it’s just April with snow everywhere. I did get to cover my 37th Super Bowl; of course, the Vikings did not make it.

My oldest son won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with PGA-Pro Kevin Streelman. Weeks later I’m with Larry, Jr. and the great Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida watching them play nine holes of golf during a NIKE commercial shoot. Priceless.

The Timberwolves did indeed clinch a playoff spot with an overtime win versus Denver in the last game of the regular season. Because of that, after all these years I get to witness all the major Minnesota teams – Lynx, Twins, Vikings, Wild and Timberwolves – reach the playoffs in the same calendar season.

Houston’s James Harden dominated game one. Photo by Larry Fitzgerald

The Timberwolves now have their hands full with the NBA’s Houston Rockets in a best of seven series. Because the 47-35 Timberwolves were the last team to clinch a playoff spot, they get the Rockets, seeded number one versus the number-eight Wolves.

Houston had the NBA’s best record, 65-17, and was second in scoring with 112.7 points a game. Game one: 104-101 Rockets. Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 18; Derrick Rose had 16.

TNT’s Charles Barkley slammed the Timberwolves. He called them “dumb” because of the troubles they had switching on defense. James Harden dominated the game with 44 points; Clint Capela had 24 points and 12 rebounds.

All-Star Karl Anthony Towns scored just eight points, though he did grab 12 rebounds. He averaged 21.2 points a game during the season.”

He’s got to be more active,” said Coach Tom Thibodeau of Towns, who led the NBA in double-doubles with 68. Towns agreed: “I’ve got to be better all-around.” The Rockets were 4-0 vs Minnesota during the regular season. Game two is Wednesday and game three is Saturday at Target Center.