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Dante Cunningham Back in Jail, NBA Playoff Races Heat Up

Some notes for your morning cup.

Tom Pennington

Dante Cunningham was arrested again Sunday afternoon, and as of latest reports, is being held without bail on suspicion of making terroristic threats.  This follows his arrest last week that was followed by charges of domestic assault being filed in Hennepin County, for allegedly choking his live-in girlfriend.

Here is the latest from the Star-Tribune, though details are limited at this point.  This is the statement that the team emailed out yesterday evening:

"The situation with Dante Cunningham is very fluid and we continue to monitor all available information. We reiterate that the Minnesota Timberwolves do not condone the behavior described in the accusations. We continue to wait for the legal process to run its course and will have further comment when appropriate."

We'll see what happens.  On the basketball front, my understanding is that the CBA prevents the Wolves from disciplining Cunningham until there is a guilty plea or verdict on criminal charges. What I take that to mean is that they have to pay him, which is not a big deal since there are only a few games left in the season.  It's certainly their decision whether he plays or not if he is out of jail, and I'm fairly sure they can tell him to stay home if they so choose.

Elsewhere, yesterday in the NBA, the Hawks beat the Pacers while the Heat beat the Knicks, which affects both ends of the Eastern Conference playoff race. At the top,, the Heat go two games up in the loss column on a reeling Pacer squad, while the Hawks move 3 games up in the loss column in the "battle" for the 8th spot (which their GM doesn't seem to care about).

In the West, the Mavericks barely got by the Kings in Sacramento, while Phoenix got a huge win at home against the Thunder. It was a big offensive night for both teams, but ultimately it was the Suns' crazy good shooting night (65% TS) that won it for them.  The Grizzlies were the one contender that lost, falling to the Spurs in San Antonio.  That leaves them a game out of the playoffs this morning.

The NBA takes today off due to the NCAA title game scheduled for tonight (8 pm Central, CBS).  I really don't care, especially with my hometown Badgers having lost on Saturday, but I guess there are some prospects to watch.  Notably, Julius Randle from Kentucky appears to be a lottery pick.  Willie Cauley-Stein remains injured and will not play, while Shabazz Napier stars for Connecticut.

The women played their semi-finals last night: Connecticut beat Stanford and Notre Dame beat Maryland, setting up a title game between two unbeaten teams.  (All of this conference switching has lost me...these two teams used to play each other a couple of times a year).  UConn has a chance to win both the Men's and Women's Championships, which I believe they did once before.

The Wolves next face the Spurs tomorrow night at Target Center in the Mexico City makeup game. Tony Parker left the Memphis game with an injury, and reportedly has an MRI scheduled for today.  It is extremely unlikely that he will make the trip to Minneapolis, and given the situation, I wouldn't be surprised if Popovich leaves some other guys at home as well. The Spurs currently sit 4.5 games ahead of the Thunder in the race for the best record in the NBA, and play in Dallas on Thursday.  We'll see who shows up tomorrow.

Today in history

529: Justinian I issues Corpus Juris Civilis, one of the key early legal texts that shaped our system of jurisprudence. 
1652: Dutch establish settlement at Cape Town, South Africa
1805: Beethoven's "Eroica" premieres under his direction
1862: U.S. Grant defeats Confederates at Shiloh
1906: Mt. Vesuvius erupts, devastating Naples
1933: Prohibition ends
2003: U.S. troops capture Baghdad

Today's musical birthday is Billie Holiday, born in 1915 (d. 1959).

Open wide.