Now that the Minnesota Timberwolves have put themselves in the “playoff hunt,” as coach Rick Adelman described it, can they remain in contention for their first postseason appearance in eight years?

The Wolves (17-17) enter the second half of the season only 1-1/2 games out of the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with 32 games remaining.

A road-heavy schedule plus inconsistency at small forward makes the playoff push more challenging. The Wolves open the second half with a four-game Western swing,beginning Tuesday night at Los Angeles against the Clippers.

“We’ll need a lot of guys to step up if we’re going to maintain what we’ve done so far,” Adelman said. “Our schedule becomes really difficult in March.”

– Reported by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press