Excitement is mounting over the Minnesota Timberwolves’ deep playoff run, and it’s literally painting downtown Minneapolis blue and green.

Ahead of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, the area around Target Center has been decked out with “Go Wolves!” in 19-foot-tall letters on First Avenue, temporary street signs with the Wolves logo and team colors at the intersections of First Avenue and Sixth Street and at First Avenue and Seventh Street, and a mural of the team’s key players on Gluek’s building.

Public Works crews started putting up the street signs yesterday before Game 1 at Target Center and painted the street overnight after the game. The City says the signs and street painting will remain in place throughout the team's playoff run.

The mural of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Naz Reid, and others appeared earlier this week as an eventual backdrop for a parking lot party before and during Game 2.

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves Back Block Party will take place in a parking lot kitty-corner to Target Center on Friday from 4 p.m. until the end of Game 2, with pre-game entertainment from Nur-D and DJ Cav, a large screen for fans without tickets to watch the game, a pop-up Timberwolves merch store, and food and drink for purchase. It’s a free event, but tickets are required for entry. The team says the parking lot will be able to hold around 4,000 people.

There could be more Timberwolves block parties to come. The City Council approved a permit on Thursday that allows the team to hold large block events in the Warehouse District between 4-11 p.m. for select home games at Target Center during the Western Conference finals and NBA Finals.

It seems everyone is howling over the Timberwolves’ first Western Conference finals appearance in 20 years. The team has never made it to the NBA Finals.

Hundreds of Wolves fans have taken up two local tattoo apprentices at Beloved Studios in Roseville on their offer for $20 Naz Reid tattoos.

An artist and educator in Southwest Minneapolis is also spreading Timberwolves fandom through his art. Adam Johnson is distributing free prints of his Naz Reid and Kevin Garnett portraits and $10 yard sign versions of the Naz Reid portrait at ColorWheel Gallery in the Lynnhurst neighborhood.

Gov. Tim Walz declared yesterday, May 22, 2024, as Wolves Back Day in Minnesota in honor of the first game of the Western Conference finals.

First Avenue just announced that it will host a Naz Rave on June 5. Anyone with a Naz Reid tattoo or towel can get in for free. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door for everyone else.

A Timberwolves mural also went up this week outside of Modist Brewing's North Loop taproom, where all of the team's home and away games are being screened on a projector. Lots of other bars around downtown are hosting watch parties too, including The Loon Cafe, Kieran's Irish Pub, Lyon's Pub, Gluek's, The Local, and The Loop.

Photo by Philip Reinhardt

Unfortunately, the Wolves lost Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks last night, but only by a few points, with a final score of 108-105. The Timberwolves will try to tie up the best-of-seven series when Game 2 tips off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Target Center. Then the Wolves and the Mavs head to Dallas for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.

Game 5 is scheduled for next Thursday at Target Center, Game 6 for June 1 in Dallas, and Game 7 on June 3 at Target Center. All games tip off at 7:30 p.m.

If the Timberwolves advance, the team will play either the Indiana Pacers or the Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals starting on June 6.