The Minnesota Timberwolves are a franchise that has struggled for long stretches since they came into the NBA. Barring a stretch from 1997 to 2004, the Timberwolves had qualified for the playoffs just once in 2018, when they got bounced out of the first round by the Houston Rockets. Suffice to say, they haven't often been good enough to show what they're made of in the postseason.
So when they beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in tournament at their arena, the excitement was palpable. The team was thrilled to finally be in the playoffs and celebrated with great gusto, Patrick Beverley even climbed up on the scorers' table and threw his jersey into the crowd.
While Timberwolves fans understandably loved every second of it, several people on social media including LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, as well as in traditional basketball media thought the celebrations were over the top for just clinching a spot as the 7th seed. And on Inside The NBA on TNT, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, and the crew had a hearty laugh at the expense of the celebrations, mocking the Wolves for acting like they'd won the title.
While there is some truth to the fact that qualifying for the playoffs is just the beginning of the journey towards success, for a franchise that has had very little to celebrate historically, this has been quite the achievement.
There is also the added factor of Pat Beverley's history with the Los Angeles Clippers and there are no surprises that he celebrated just like only he can after sending the team that traded him away into a win or you're out scenario against the winner of the 9th and 10th seed matchup.
While it is understandable that the players celebrated as they did, this will come back to haunt them if they cannot deliver in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies. Minnesota has beaten Memphis a couple of times in the regular season, but the playoffs are a different beast, and if they can upset Memphis, it would help them shut down a lot of their doubters.