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I’ll be rooting for the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight

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From one pained franchise to another.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game between the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves is one of the most important regular season games in two decades: Winner goes on to the playoffs while the loser goes home. The standing are so tight in the Western Conference right now that Denver can’t even get the 8th seed if they win, they’d jump to at least 7th and possibly better because of tiebreakers.

But my heart is with the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, a franchise who has been out of the playoffs even longer than the Sacramento Kings. Wolves fans have endured years of early exits, much like Sacramento. They endured David Kahn, Kurt Rambis, injury after injury and are finally on the cusp of breaking free. Regardless of if they get in tonight, they have a bright future ahead of them. Karl-Anthony Towns looks like a future perennial All-Star, Jimmy Butler already is, and Andrew Wiggins still has a lot of untapped potential.

Sure, the Wolves making the playoffs would leave the Kings alone in the wilderness, the newest team to hold the longest streak in the NBA of missing the postseason, but one day we’ll be back. On that day, we won’t be worried about potentially winning our home finale because it will affect our draft standings, we’ll be looking onward to our first playoffs in a long, long time and reflecting on what was likely the best Kings season in memory.

So my heart is with Minnesota fans tonight, who have felt the same pain as us for so long and don’t deserve to be deprived once more. Go Wolves.