Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Something in the water
It seems like you cannot say Minnesota without thinking of injuries. There were the various injuries to Kevin Love at the beginning of the year, including a broken hand. There was Brandon Roy coming out of retirement and then possibly going back into retirement. There was Ricky Rubio's return from an ACL and now back spasms.
These key players have missed lots of time. And just when it seemed like Minnesota was getting all its pieces back for a big playoff run… Love manages to jam his hand and injure the same hand he broke earlier this season.
Love was added back to the seemingly always full injured list in Minneapolis making you wonder if there is something in the several lakes that dot the area. Love sprained a finger on that previously broken right hand and left with four minutes left in the third quarter. He still got his double double, don't worry fantasy nuts.
The Timberwolves though trailed by one point entering the fourth quarter and it was J.J. Barea with 17 points and Alexy Shved with 17 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 101-97 win over the Nuggets at Pepsi Center on Thursday.
Minnesota got to the line for 30 free throws with 21-for-30 shooting and outrebounded Denver 52-39, including a 17-11 edge on the offensive glass. It seemed even without Love, the Wolves hit the glass and did the dirty work that Love typically does to get a win.
Now though Minnesota sees how long Love might be out.
2: Knicks stop Spurs
If there is any doubt the Knicks are going to be here to stay, maybe we should look at their matchup with the perenially favored Spurs. New York's 100-83 win over San Antonio resulted in New York sweeping San Antonio for the first time since 2003.
Almost a full decade!
If San Antonio has been a bench mark for that decade, New York failed to pass it. Now the team has.
Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and got plenty of support from J.R. Smith with 20 points off the bench. Steve Novak added 15 points too as the Knicks just routed the Spurs in this game.
New York outscored San Antonio by 15 in the second half to gain distance and put the team away. And it was impressive that New York continues to play defense and continues to show they are not just a strong regular season team but a team that is very much a championship contender. Toppling even an older San Antonio team marks that arrival.
Iggy one-on-one on Shved
Prigioni catches Spurs sleeping
Not NBA, but daaaamn…
4: Line of the Night: J.J. Barea — 17 points, 6/10 FGs, five assists
Barea turned a strong playoff performance into a long-term contract with Minnesota. The question has always been whether he could be consistent. He is still coming off the bench and he is still a spunky little change of pace point guard. And he stepped up in the fourth quarter without Kevin Love. Barea is a finisher, always has been.
5: You can quote me on that
If you can play that way against the San Antonio Spurs, you can play that way against anybody.
I think Minnesota at times plays better without Love. They're kind of a machine-like offense. They give guys different opportunities. But they're pretty good.