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Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:24 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 10

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Even with all the hype, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks aren't getting their due. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the tenth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Houston Rockets at No. 9. I want to get excited about the Rockets too. They're an intriguing bunch of over-achievers with almost-stars in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. But no way are they top 10 material quite yet. They are good at home but haven't been able to prove themselves much on the road. A 6-10 mark away from the Toyota Center has to improve if this group is to make a good case to be mentioned among the Western elite. -- RY

2. Too Low: New York Knicks at No. 15. Gauging the Knicks is all about how you want to look at the sample. They're 1-2 in their last three and they're 16-17 on the season, but they're also 9-4 in their last thirteen. All indications are that this is an above-average team that's put its early-season woes behind it. Working Carmelo Anthony back in after injury and adding J.R. Smith to the formula won't be a completely straightforward process, but this is a team that should be at least two spots higher. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 14. We seem to go through this every week, but there's no chance that Minnesota should be this high, given that they're below .500, ranked above the Portland Trail Blazers, currently a game up on them, and still reside in last place of the Northwest Division. This week, they're not all that drastically overrated but placing them above New York, Portland, Memphis and Boston was a big with the heart, not the mind. Or maybe a pick made with googley eyes at Ricky Rubio. Whatever the reason, overrated. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Golden State Warriors at No. 23. Among the bottom ten teams in the league, Golden State seems the least awful. They're 5-5 in February, which counts as positive momentum after a slow start. Written off by many as early as mid-January, the Warriors are just four games out of the No. 8 playoff seed in the ultra-packed Western Conference, and even though they're 12th in the West, their No. 7 ranked offense provides enough reason to believe that they will land closer to the playoff fringes than the basement. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: San Antonio at No. 4. After back-to-back weeks of having the Spurs too low, it looks like they're finally in the right spot. Not quite as good as the Thunder, who own the West currently and certainly not among the Heat and Bulls. But absolutely a top five team with a look in them to make a strong push for the West's top spot before it's all said and done. They briefly got back Manu Ginobili, only to lose him again for a few weeks. No bother. The Spurs will just keep on. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 11. At one point, it was nearly universally agreed upon that this team was legit contender material and a threat to the Thunder in the West. Then everyone started getting hurt and they started losing games by the bunches. What would've been a defining win against OKC Sunday was snuffed out by Kevin Durant. The Nuggets have shown they're almost good enough, but not quite there. If Danilo Gallinari can lift his game to another level when he returns, this could be a group to make a big Western push. -- RY
Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Lakers interested in Michael Beasley?

Are the Lakers looking at Beasley? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

The idea is that at some point, Michael Beasley will find himself in the perfect situation. He'll have the right support system, the right teammates, the right system and as a result, he finally realize some of the talent he has. Because the guy has got talent. Loads of it. It's why he was drafted second overall and why the Timberwolves were more than happy to welcome him despite not really having a good spot for him.

It hasn't exactly worked out with Minnesota and with the Wolves drafting Derrick Williams, Beasley just doesn't really have a place.

Then there are the Lakers, a team trying to make a deal to salvage a makeshift roster. Perfect marriage for a deal, right? Well, the Lakers like Beasley, according to ESPN.com:
The Lakers' front office knows Kobe Bryant is looking for it to improve the roster, and GM Mitch Kupchak has been working the phones. He's spoken to Minnesota about Michael Beasley, and sources say the Lakers are intrigued by the Timberwolves' small forward. The Lakers were actually in discussions with Minnesota about a potential trade for Beasley before the season started. If they would have been able to pull off the deal for Chris Paul, there is a good chance that a trade for Beasley would have followed.

It's not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash. I'm told the teams have not spoken about Pau Gasol since the preseason. Minnesota is looking to move Beasley, who they feel has matured very little (if at all) since he's been there, according to sources. The Lakers believe they can handle a player like Beasley because of their winning culture and the leadership of Bryant.
The Lakers need more help than just Beasley, but like I said, the guy is just dying for that right place. Rasheed Wallace finally found it with the Pistons and look what happened. Beasley has serious ability. It's just got to click for him.

According to the report, the Lakers are also looking at acquiring a point guard, a position that needs a lot of help. They worked out Gilbert Arenas last week, but evidently haven't made a decision there yet. There are other point guards on the market like Ramon Sessions and the report says the Lakers might be able to grab Sessions for a first round pick.

I think the deals are coming for the Lakers. Maybe not a blockbuster involving Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum, but something. That trade exception is just sitting there and it's hard to believe they truly gave up Lamar Odom to a Western contender for basically nothing.

I like Beasley with the Lakers too. I think it's a fit. He can forget about trying to carry a bad team for once and concentrate on his strengths. He can fit in alongside Kobe and Gasol and let those guys lead the way while he follows. It might take a bit of an attitude adjustment from him realizing maybe he's not going to score 20 points a game, but if he's willing, he still has a lot of bright years ahead of him.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:40 am
 

Wolves offering Derrick Williams for Pau Gasol?

Gasol's name is popping up in trade rumors again. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

The Lakers already tried to trade Pau Gasol once this season. So they aren't completely married to their Spanish power forward. The Lakers appear to be a team shopping at the trade deadline, especially with that nice trade exception they got in the Lamar Odom deal.

But that doesn't mean the Lakers are just going to do anything. So are ready for a trade rumor that almost certainly will not happen, but is pretty fun to think about anyway? Via FoxSports.com:
In other news involving NBA big men, a source said Wednesday that Minnesota continues to pursue a possible trade for Lakers forward Pau Gasol, dangling rookie Derrick Williams, who is from the Los Angeles area, and draft choices.

The only players considered untouchable by the Timberwolves, who are seeking to add a veteran by the trade deadline, are Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. The Timberwolves believe it could be enticing for Gasol to play on the same team as fellow Spaniard Rubio.
The two biggest reasons this isn't happening:

1) No way Kobe Bryant would at all be cool with this, considering he's not exactly of the mind for the Lakers to start a rebuilding youth movement as he chases a sixth ring. If you want to upset Kobe, trade Gasol for someone not named Dwight.

2) Actually, that first reason is probably enough.

Then again, maybe there's one reason it would. Maybe the Lakers have visions of using Williams in a package with Andrew Bynum to have a go at Dwight Howard. Maybe the Gasol/Bynum thing isn't what Orlando is looking for and instead wants to get younger, get some picks and get some talent back. That, I can buy.

From the Minnesota perspective, I'm actually a little curious as to why the Wolves would want to go down that path. Gasol is more of a 4 than a 5 and they already have Kevin Love playing power forward. And Nikola Pekovic is coming on strong right now at center. It's understandable if they see Williams not fitting in anywhere, but Gasol's not exactly a major need player for them either.

Either way, there's a month until the trade deadline and I'm pretty sure this isn't the last trade rumor you're going to hear Gasol's name get dropped in. The Lakers want, and probably need, to make a deal. And Gasol's a pretty big piece to dangle out there.
Posted on: February 11, 2012 10:31 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 2:08 pm
 

Knicks G Jeremy Lin hits game-deciding free throw

Posted by Ben Golliver

New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin did it again, drawing a foul and then hitting the game-deciding free throw against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center on Saturday night.

With the game tied at 98 with less than 10 seconds remaining, the Knicks cleared out for Lin at the top, and he drove to the basket amidst a swarm of defenders, drawing the foul on Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour with 4.9 seconds remaining. 

Lin missed the first free throw, but made the second one to put New York up for good, 99-98. The Knicks went on to win, 100-98, after the Timberwolves couldn't convert on their final two offensive possessions. The win marked New York's fifth consecutive victory.

Lin finished with 20 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals on 8-for-24 shooting in 39 minutes for New York. Timberwolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio finished with 12 points, 8 assists, 2 rebounds and 3 steals on 5-for-15 shooting in 35 minutes. The performance comes one night after Lin hung a career-high 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Here's the video of Knicks guard Jeremy Lin drawing a foul and hitting the game-winning free throw against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:10 pm
 

Report: Kevin Love to enter Three-Point Contest

Kevin Love says he will compete in the 3-point shootout. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love was named to his second All-Star Game on Thursday. But, wait, there's more.

The Star-Tribune reports that Love said on Thursday that he will compete in the NBA's annual Three-Point Contest as well. The shooting contest is an annual staple of the league's All-Star Saturday festivities.

 "I think I got a good shot at anything I do," Love said, according to the paper. "I’m a pretty competitive guy." 

Miami Heat forward James Jones won the 2011 Three-Point Contest in Los Angeles, defeating Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, Celtics guard Ray Allen, Golden State Warriors forward Dorell Wright, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Love, 23, is averaging 25.0 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 39.4 minutes per game this season.

He's shooting 37.8 percent from deep, while launching a career-high 4.6 threes per game.

Full rosters for the Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest and other All-Star Saturday events have not yet been announced. 
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Ten likely candidates for contraction

Let's see how many kids' dreams we can crush with contraction just to make the Knicks and Lakers better, shall we? (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Oh, no, there's (insert problem in the NBA)! Quick, let's contract some teams!

That's pretty much the standard fare from a lot of mainstream basketball scribes. Their proximity to large cities, usually coastal, is something you should try and not look at too closely. It's like one of those 3-D images. Yes, it's a schooner, which is a sailboat, and you still have a headache.

The answer always seems to pop up. "Oh, we don't have enough stars!" Contract! "There's a lockout and the owners want more money!" Contract! "We're out of sandwiches in the media room!" Contract!

There's about a billion reasons why contraction won't be happening. David Stern won't allow it on his watch. Losing games, twice in 12 years? Sure. Losing teams? No way. One thing hurts your fans. The other hurts your business.

But let's say it did, because there are more fans of big market teams than small market teams, and big market teams love the idea, because they get a talent influx. Who goes on the chopping block? Here are teams that would be up for contraction, if we're going to go ahead and kill off sections of fans.
(Franchise valuation data courtesy of Forbes, attendance via ESPN.)

1. New Orleans Hornets: Trying to avoid this conclusion is something I spent a solid hour on. Surely there's a way around this. But there just isn't. The Hornets staged a massive ticket sales promotion in order to try and boost their attendance profile for a potential buyer as well as to satisfy various city and state requirements regarding their lease. The result? They're 26th this season. With Chris Paul having gone to the Clippers, things are going to get worse before they get better. If we absolutely have to chop off a team, you have to start with the Hornets, as much as it pains me.

There are a lot of factors here, but George Shinn's horrific ownership should not be overlooked, nor should two natural disasters in the span of five years. But it's never been a strong market, and if we have to make cuts with our minds and not hearts, the Hornets have to be silenced.

Biggest argument against: Have you no soul? Honestly?

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Such a great playoffs run. But here are the facts. It's one of the newest franchises, with little in the way of successful history (as in, none outside of last season). It's been evaluated as 29th in overall worth by Forbes. Despite making the playoffs last season and being expected to contend for the West this year, they are 21st in attendance, Z-Bo or no Z-Bo.

The Grizzlies are trying to build a new culture of passion and success in Memphis. But if we have to make the cut today, they have to be on the block. If you need me I'll be in the corner gurgling arsenic.

Biggest argument against: Memphis' playoff run shows what can happen if that fanbase is engaged.

3. Charlotte Bobcats: Terrible team. The newest in the league. No success to speak of. Poor ownership. A fanbase damaged by George Shinn's tenure in Charlotte (hey, look, a theme!). The overriding influence of college basketball and its permeating stench throughout any sports discussion. The reasons go on and on. I mean, just look at their attendance.

They're... 14th this season?

That's up from 21st, which really isn't that horrible. And that's why they manage to slide to three. If you took the way the Bobcats have been run and put them in Memphis, New Orleans, or Sacramento, they're toast, first out the door. But Carolina gets basketball. So they slide to third. So... uh... good for them?

Biggest argument against: Decent attendance, run by the sport's biggest icon, awesome mascot.

4. Milwaukee Bucks: We're going to kill off the first team Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, ever played for? The 1971 champs?

Yeah. We are. Milwaukee is rated last in the league by Forbes in overall value. Despite some promising drafts, they have yet to put together a contending core. Their arena situation is not dire, but it's going to get there in the next five years, and Milwaukee voters are unlikely to come streaming to the polls to help the team out. Killing off a franchise with this much history is pretty horrific, but at some point the dollars and cents have to matter.

Biggest argument against: Championship team, history, good ownership, active fanbase.

5. Sacramento Kings: No one has fought harder to keep their team than Kings fans have. They have staved off their owners feeding vultures from Anaheim. They have scrapped up enough support for a new arena plan coming to vote this month during a recession. They have chanted and made documentaries and brought signs and banners and petitions.

And it still might not be enough.

This may be the best example of why contraction is flawed. Ten years ago, even six years ago, this would be incomprehensible. The Kings were on the verge, the doorstep, had their foot jammed into the entryway of the Finals. The biggest problem with contraction is that we look at it through the lens of the present. "Oh, the Bobcats/Kings/Bucks are terrible." But in five years, those teams could be San Antonio. Or OKC. Or Orlando. Winning will change your bottom line, and losing will change it just the same. But considering the arena situation at present time, the financial situation of the club, and their ongoing attendance issues, it's impossible to leave them out.

Biggest argument against: Here we stay.

Five more.

6. Atlanta Hawks: You want to talk about history, this one's like chopping off a limb. But the Hawks are 28th in value, have been unable to put together legitimate success, and feature one of the most lackluster fanbases in the league. Atlanta may simply be oversaturated for the NBA.

Biggest argument against: It's called the Highlight Factory, for crying out loud.

7. Philadelphia 76ers: You can already hear the sounds of those coastal writers crying out in agony. Start talking about an East Coast team that won a title within the past 30 years and it's a whole different story. But the 76ers come in at 22nd in value, just had the team sold, no real success even if you count the Iverson years that victimized a terrible, terrible Eastern conference, and continually have horrible attendance. They're bottom ten this season, and their team is a handful of games out of first in the conference.

Biggest argument against: Erasing what Moses Malone and Julius Erving did should be a federal crime.

8. Minnesota Timberwolves: 27th in value, 24th in attendance despite all the excitement. The only reason this team gets put so high is out of practical considerations. Basically, despite killing Kevin Garnett's prime and bobbling the next All-Star they landed in Kevin Love, their owner is close friends with David Stern and one of the heads of the Board of Governors. You see that guy getting his team lopped off any time soon?

Biggest argument against: Rubio? Rubio.

9. New Jersey Nets: Is there enough room in New York for two teams? Of course. Is there room for two fairly terrible teams? Additionally, if they can't get Dwight Howard, they should just pack up and go home, anyway.

Biggest argument against: They will always make money because they will play in New York now, and Prokhorov may come after you.

10. Indiana Pacers: No NBA championships (3 ABA). They are 25th in value and dead last in attendance, despite being a top five team in the East. The Pacers have simply been unable to capture the city's attention since The Brawl. Maybe that just did too much damage, combined with the emergence of the Colts. Yes, it's a historic team, but without any championships since the ABA. And with the Fieldhouse eventually needing a new home and all the money the city has spent on sports and event facilities, hard to see it coming through.

Biggest argument against: 8 points. 9 seconds.

--------------------------------

In the end, any of these teams could become the Spurs in the next ten years. Or the Blazers. Or the Jazz. Or the Magic. It takes ownership, a little luck, and the subsequent success. Get that, and you're good to go. But we never see that when we talk about contraction. We only see the benefits for the Bulls, the Lakers, the Knicks. And we forget that while there are more fans in cities than towns, having an NBA nation makes the game that much stronger. But if we have to do the deed, those are the teams that should get the axe.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 11:25 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 11:32 pm
 

Report Card: Pacers survive, Pierce passes Bird

Paul Pierce took over No.2 on the Celtics' all-time scoring list and the Celtics improved to 14-10. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore


Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was. We want to hear your grades of the night on Twitter at @EyeOnBasketball.


Paul Pierce On a night where Pierce passed Larry Bird on the Celtics' all-time scoring list, the Truth was doing everything for the surging Celtics. His shooting percentage was nothing great, but 8 rebounds and 9 assists with just two turnovers to go with 15 points is excellent work. Pierce took a step up the Green's list of point producers, but it's his overall play that makes him a Celtic legend. Tuesday night showed why.
Indiana Pacers Played like warrior gods for about 34 minutes. Then utterly collapsed against the power of Paul Millsap while Frank Vogel hung out his second unit to dry. Then managed to slam the door shut thanks to what got them the lead in the first place. When the Pacers are clicking, they can be dominant, but this team is built with too many hustle defenders on the bench and not enough scoring. George Hill's absence hurts, but it goes beyond that. They might consider getting a backup scorer at the deadline. At the same time, a quality win against a good team.
Minnesota Timberwolves The Kings are more game to fight under Keith Smart, but this still should have been a more comfortable win at home. Then again, they didn't have Kevin Love. So basically, they pass, but next time maybe a little better shooting than 41 percent against a horrid defense is in order. 14 assists for Rubio in the win.
Kings final possession All you have are perimeter scorers. All you have are ISO guys. You don't pass well. I'm one of the guys who rails against the ISO-Final-Possession culture in the NBA, but in that situation, down two, give the ball to Thornton or Evans and let them do work out of Isolation. Instead the Kings tried to get inventive and cute. Not a good look. Honestly, DeMarcus Cousins should not be on the floor at the end of the game for the Kings right now. 22 for Thornton in the loss.
Tyrus Thomas 20 minutes. 1-6, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 1 foul, -12 for the game and got into it with Paul Pierce on the night he passed Bird on the Celtics' scoring list. Remember when he was going to be a difference maker?
E FOR EFFORT
LeBron James (24 points on 16 shots, 5 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals, excellent passing to close out the Cavs.)
Derrick Brown (10-10 from the field, 20 points, 4 rebounds)
Darren Collison (10-14 from the field, 25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 turnovers)

Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 2:19 pm
 

Kevin Love suspended two games for Scola stomp

Posted by Royce Young



The NBA announced Monday that Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has been suspended two games without pay for stepping on the face of Rockets forward Luis Scola Friday.

The league said Love was suspended for "driving his foot into the upper body and face" and upgraded it to a Flagrant 2 foul.

Love claimed it was an accident after the game saying, "He was kind of right there ... I have size-19 feet. He just happened to be there. I had nowhere to go. I kind of tripped up. I just had nowhere to step. It was a Heat-of-the-moment type play. He was there and it happened to be his face."

The NBA didn't see it that way though.

Love released this statement Monday after the suspension:

”I want to publicly apologize to Luis Scola and the Houston Rockets. My intention is to never hurt another player on the basketball court. I’ve always had the utmost respect for the game of basketball and all of my opponents. I also apologize to my coaches, teammates and our fans for the consequences of my actions.”

It's a blow to the Wolves who are actually in the mix for the eight-seed in the West, but every game is of major importance. Two games without their best player could be something that comes back to bite them.

Fair suspension? It's so hard to judge intent and Love claimed innocence after the play, but still, the video suggests otherwise. Stu Jackson and the league determined it was a dirty play by Love and chose to suspended him for it. Love isn't a dirty player and like he said, it was a heat-of-the-moment type of play where you just lose your mind for a second. It's easy to see why he got the suspension and honestly, not all the surprising, I guess.

The Wolves next two games are against the Kings and Grizzlies.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com