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Pregame: What's at stake tonight for Wolves, Thunder

The Wolves and Oklahoma City finish the regular season tonight with so much at stake:

The Thunder need a victory and a New Orleans loss to San Antonio to secure the West's eighth and final playoff spot.

The Wolves need a loss to guarantee the league's worst record, and thus the best chance in the May draft lottery.

"We’d like nothing better than to have Oklahoma City go golfing with us tomorrow," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said.

Kevin Martin expects to play for the Wolves tonight and even Anthony Bennett is supposed to give it a try just so the Wolves can come close to getting eight ready players they need by NBA rules to play the game.

The Thunder has that playoff spot at stake and star guard Russell Westbrook is battling Houston's James Harden for the NBA's scoring title here on the season's final day, too.

"We have to play our game tonight," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said at his team's morning shootaround at Target Center. "Obviously, we need help. San Antonio needs to win, but we have to focus on what we have to do and go from there. Our job is to worry about our job and not worry about what's happening south of us."

Two Eastern teams with losing record will make the playoffs while the Thunder, seven games over .500, will miss them if the Pelicans win at home tonight.

"I mean, that's just how it goes," Westbrook said this morning. "That's how it always has been, especially in this league. It's something you can't change now. Obviously, our record is better than some teams in the East. It is what it is. We've got to take care of our business. That's the nature of the business."

A couple other things from today:

* Andrew Wiggins said he plans to play for Canada in August, which would be an Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico. There's also the Pan Am Games in Toronto in July, which Anthony Bennett has said he will play.

* Zach LaVine said he's open to playing in the Las Vegas Summer League again. He said he plans to be in the gym all summer anywhere and likes playing to the crowd in Vegas. He also likes the up-and-down pace of the game there.

Saunders said he wants Wiggins, LaVine, Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad all to practice with the summer-league team but was non-committal on whether any would play in games in Vegas. Wiggins certainly won't.

Garnett likely done for the year, but that could be a good thing

Greetings from Target Center, where the Wolves will tip off with New Orleans in about 30 minutes. Here are a couple nuggets that came out of the pre-game pressers with the two coaches:

First of all, this: Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Kevin Garnett will not play tonight and likely won’t play in Wednesday’s season finale.

And he thinks Wolves fans should take this as good news. Saunders said that, if Garnett were to play Wednesday, it would be, essentially a good-bye appearance. The fact that he likely won’t play could mean Garnett has plans that include playing next season.

“I’ll say this: If he plays, to me, it would be an indication that he doesn’t want to play next year,” Saunders said. “I think he’s looking at this as more not being over. He doesn’t to do anything, in one or two games, that would jeopardize something that’s going to throw him back to not be able to really start and get ready (for next season).’’

Garnett – who threw out the first pitch for the Twins home opener Monday afternoon – has not spoken to the media, so we don’t have definitive word on whether he wants to play beyond this season.

To Flip, KG not playing Wednesday should be taken as a good sign.

Meanwhile, a couple other items:

--First, Jrue Holiday’s sore leg will keep him out of the lineup tonight for New Orleans.

--On the Wolves side, Kevin Martin will miss the game because of a stomach ailment. That means the Wolves will once again be casting about for players healthy enough to actually play.

--Ricky Rubio was scheduled to have diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle Monday. But, as of game time, Saunders had not received word on how the procedure went or what it showed. 

Local Schedule

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  • Twins at Detroit

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