Tagged in: Minnesota Timberwolves

LaMelo Ball holds first private workout with Minnesota Timberwolves

Projected No. 1 pick LaMelo Ball conducted an individual workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves, owners of the top selection in the upcoming NBA draft, on Wednesday in Southern California, sources told ESPN.

It was the first private workout Ball granted an NBA team. He previously met and interviewed with the Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls, who hold picks 1-4, correspondingly.

The NBA relaxed restrictions on in-player evaluations and interviews in mid-October, according to a memo obtained by ESPN, opening the way for teams to meet with prospects in advance of next Wednesday’s draft.

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The Timberwolves sent president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, coach Ryan Saunders and executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta to evaluate Ball, putting him through an array of shooting drills and other activities to test his ballhandling and conditioning. A source stated Ball shot the ball well and had no issues getting through the workout.

Ball is one of three candidates the Timberwolves are expected to select from on draft night.

The others are former Memphis center James Wiseman and Georgia guard Anthony Edwards.

The Timberwolves previously met with and worked out Edwards but have not been able to get much traction with Wiseman. A source told ESPN that Wiseman appears to view situations with the Warriors and Hornets as more favorable to his long-term growth.

Despite that, and the presence of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns, Wiseman remains a candidate for the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves also are expected to conduct trade dialogues with a number of teams interested in acquiring the top pick.

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Warriors trade D´Angelo Russell to Wolves for Andrew Wiggins

D’Angelo Russell’s time in Golden State was short-lived.    

The Warriors traded the star guard to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 protected first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick, Minnesota informed on Thursday.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the deal.

Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman will also head to Minnesota as part of the blockbuster deal.

The Warriors obtained Russell, 23, in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets this offseason, shocking the NBA world.

The Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers were expected to be his primary suitors.

There were questions about how Russell and Steph Curry would coexist on both ends of the floor, especially defensively, as neither player is stout on that end.

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Offensively, the Warriors figured to work more pick-and-rolls into their scheme to highlight Russell’s strengths, while Curry would be asked to play off the ball a bit more as well, which didn’t seem like a stretch given his effectiveness as a shooter coming off screens.

With Klay Thompson recovering from an ACL tear and Kevin Durant now in Brooklyn, the Warriors had to make the Russell-Curry partnership work. Those plans hit a snag, however, when Curry broke his left hand in late October.

While Russell averaged 23.6 points and 6.2 assists with the Warriors, shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 37.4 from three, he was always an option to be traded ahead of the deadline for a more natural fit as the Warriors attempt to restock for a playoff run next campaign.

He now heads to his third team in the past year, where he’ll bring his scoring and playmaking out of the pick-and-roll. Russell was never a natural fit in Golden State. A change of scenery should benefit both sides.

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Bucks hold off Timberwolves

The Milwaukee Bucks were happy to get another victory though they know they didn’t play up to their standards.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and the Bucks held off a strong challenge from short-handed Minnesota in a 106-104 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

“Not paying our best but still finding a way to win is good,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “But this isn’t the formula.”

Antetokounmpo got his 30th double-double in 33 games this campaign and Khris Middleton added 13 points despite shooting 5 for 18 as league-best Milwaukee hit just 42.6% of its shots overall and only 9 of 36 from 3-point range. Brook Lopez scored 11 points and Eric Bledsoe had 10.

“We missed a lot of good shots and came out a little slow,” Middleton said.

Shabazz Napier had 22 points to lead Minnesota, and Gorgui Deng scored 15, Josh Okogie added 12 and Jarret Culver 10.

Minnesota was playing without its two best players as Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague sat with knee injuries.

The Timberwolves were also missing Treveon Graham and Andrew Wiggins, who were battling flu-like symptoms.

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“That presented a lot of opportunities for a lot of guys and I thought a lot of guys stepped up,” Napier said.

Milwaukee slumped out of the gate. The Bucks had just four points through the first six minutes and didn’t take a lead until Lopez converted a three-point play to make it 31-29 with 8:41 left in the second quarter.

They went into halftime with a 52-51 lead despite shooting 34% from the floor. Minnesota connected at a 41.7% clip but made only 3 of 14 3-pointers while the Bucks knocked down 8 of 26 from beyond the arc.

The Timberwolves mounted one last challenge in the closing minute as Dieng hit the first of two free throws to make it 1006-104 with 46.2 seconds left. Robert Covington grabbed Pat Connaughton’s missed layup, giving Minnesota the ball with 21 seconds left but after the Timberwolves used their last timeout, Dieng missed a 19-footer with 3 seconds remaining.

“We were hoping to get Shabazz on a quick catch and go or we liked going for a win with (Covington) getting to the corner,” Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said. “There is a reason they are arguably the best defense team in the league too, they blew it up.”

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Timberwolves fall for their 11th straight loss

D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points, Alec Burks had 25 points and eight assists, and the Warriors defeated the Timberwolves 113-104 on Monday night, the 11th straight loss for Minnesota.

“It’s no secret we’re in a funk right now,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said.

“Young team or not, we’ve got to learn lessons in this league, because you’ve got to go through hard times to get to where you want to be.”

Draymond Green added 14 rebounds and nine points and Damion Lee had 14 points for Golden State, which won consecutive games for the first time since last season’s Western Conference finals.

“It feels … amazing,” Green said. “I never thought I’d be so excited for two regular-season wins in my life.”

Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Jordan McLaughlin had 19 for the Timberwolves.

Jeff Teague added 12 points for Minnesota. The Warriors, sporting an uncharacteristic 7-24 record, broke open a tie game midway through the second quarter with an 18-3 run to take a 53-38 lead.

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Green scored on a hook shot with 2:30 left in the first half to cap the run.

The Warriors opened up a 64-47 lead after starting the third quarter on a 7-0 run. The Warriors led 82-58 late in the third quarter on Omari Spellman’s layup.

Minnesota went on a 14-2 run to close within 84-72 early in the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves closed to 109-104 with 22 seconds left when McLaughlin was fouled on a dunk and completed the three-point play with a free throw.

The Timberwolves are 5-19 since a 125-119 victory over Golden State on Nov. 8 in which Russell scored 52 points and Wiggins had 40.

The Warriors are playing their best ball ahead of a Christmas home match versus the Houston Rockets that will be seen by a national audience. “We need this regardless of what’s coming next,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“We just needed to win a couple of games in a row just to get a little momentum and feel good. Christmas is always a special day to play on, you know that everybody’s watching. It’s got a different vibe, a different feel, and our players will be really excited it’ll be good to go into that game with momentum.”

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Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

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The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly didn’t benefit from any bump in performance in their first game under Tyronn Lue, who says it might take some time to implement his vision for an up-tempo offense.

Things are likely to come easier against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Looking to give Lue his first coaching victory, the Cavaliers hope to avoid dropping consecutive home games for the first time in a year Monday night while dealing the Timberwolves their ninth consecutive road defeat.

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Cleveland (30-12) is 24-6 in its last 30 regular season games against Western Conference opponents (10-5 this season). The Wine and Gold have also won 12 of their last 13 regular season games over the West at The Q.

Minnesota (14-31) is trying to win consecutive games for only the second time since late November following Saturday’s 106-101 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies. In the victory, Shabazz Muhammed bucketed a season-high 25 points and Andrew Wiggins added 19 points.

Last game: The Cavs came up flat in Lue’s debut, losing to the Chicago Bulls 96-83 on Saturday at The Q.

Cavaliers’ probable starting lineup: 6-3 Kyrie Irving (15.8 ppg, 3.8 apg), 6-6 J.R. Smith (12.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 39% 3-pt range), 6-8 LeBron James (25.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.2 apg), 6-10 Kevin Love (15.6 ppg, 10.9 rpg) and 7-2 Timofey Mozgov (6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg).

Timberwolves’ probable starting lineup: 6-4 Ricky Rubio (9.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 8.6 apg), 6-8 Andrew Wiggins (20.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg), 6-9 Tayshaun Prince (3.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), 6-11 Kevin Garnett (3.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and 7-0 Karl-Anthony Towns (15.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg).

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