The Celtics and Bruins both played the teams that lead the Eastern Conferences in their respective sports, the C’s barely bested the Knicks on Friday night, the Ducks beat the Kings to take over the lead of the Pacific Division, and the Lakers beat the Warriors in one of the biggest regular season upsets in NBA history.
But none of those were the most important game of this weekend. At least not for Boston sports fans. The most important game of the weekend was the high scoring affair between the Timberwolves and Nets on Saturday night, in which the Timberwolves beat the Nets in Minneapolis 132-118.
If you’ve been following the Celtics at all this season and you have a pulse, you know that we are rooting hard for the Nets to lose every possible game. However, you might not realize just how important the Timberwolves are to the Celtics at this point. Due to their win Saturday Night, the T-Wolves have 20 wins on the season to Brooklyn’s 18. Had the Nets won on Saturday, they would both be sitting at 19 wins.
With 19 games to go for both teams, a 2 game difference is quite a crucial one, given how horrible these teams are. The Nets sit at 4th worst in the league, and the T-Wolves sit at 5th. Ever since the Suns beat the Nets on February 25th, it’s become very unlikely that the Nets will finish worse than the putrid Suns, which rules out the 3rd best chance at the #1 selection for the Brooklyn pick that the Celtics own. However, the next worst team is a full 3 games better than the T-Wolves (and it’s the Pelicans, who have actually remembered how to play basketball recently), meaning that the Celtics will almost surely have at worse the 5th best chance at the #1 slot. That makes the difference between the 4th worst and 5th worst records all the more consequential.
The T-Wolves made it that much harder for the Nets to rise above them, which helps the Celtics out tremendously. It was a vital game for the Celtics, and unlike the less important Celtics-Cavs game taking place simultaneously, this one worked out for Stevens & Co. As if the Timberwolves haven’t given enough to the Celtics over the years.