Good morning and happy Wednesday.
Here's some news and notes from around the web:
Zach LaVine will represent the Wolves in the Slam Dunk Contest
The official press release is below:
Minneapolis/St. Paul – Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard Zach LaVine will represent the Wolves in the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest the league announced today. LaVine will dunk against Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Victor Oladipo (Orlando) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn).
"To be selected for this year's Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend is very exciting," LaVine said. "It's been one of my dreams to compete in the All-Star slam dunk contest ever since I was a little kid. My plan is to give the judges and all NBA fans a great show."
LaVine, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is averaging 8.0 points, 3.4 assists and 22.8 minutes in 41 games (21 starts). He scored a season-high 28 points in a win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 28 and dished out a season-high 14 assists Dec. 27 at Golden State.
With a vertical jump recorded as high as 46 inches, LaVine has the athleticism to provide many highlight reel dunks. Whether it's roaring through the lane and soaring to the hoop or leaping to the rafters to catch an alley-oop, LaVine is an impressive and creative dunker. Fans can check out LaVine's dunking ability for themselves here: http://www.nba.com/
LaVine is the sixth Timberwolves player to compete in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. As a rookie, Isaiah Rider won the 1994 Slam Dunk Contest at Target Center with a between-the-legs jam, which he titled the "East Bay Funk Dunk." Other Timberwolves to participate in past Slam Dunk Contests include Derrick Williams (2012), Gerald Green (2008), Chris Carr (1997) and Doug West (1992). Rider also participated in the 1995 Slam Dunk Contest.
The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest is the centerpiece of All-Star Saturday Night and one of the most anticipated events of the season. This year, the dunkers will try to surpass last year's winning performance by Washington's John Wall, who demonstrated his high-flying dunking ability with a reverse, two-handed slam over Wizards mascot G-Wiz. Wall is not returning to defend his title.
TNT will televise the Sprite Slam Dunk live on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, part of Turner Sports’ 30th year of All-Star coverage.
Returning to a classic format, the Sprite Slam Dunk will be a two-round event in which the four participants can perform any dunk they choose without time limits. The players will have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round. Five judges will score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. All four competitors will get two dunks in the first round. The two dunkers with the highest combined score for their two dunks will advance to the head-to-head final round. The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the final round will be the champion.
Dunks from LaVine this season:
LoBro is back
Lorenzo Brown (also known as LoBro) could play for the Wolves tonight vs. Boston, as Jerry Zgoda and Marc Stein speculated yesterday. To make room for Brown, the team is expected to let the 10-day contract of Miroslav Raduljica expire today. Then, they will sign Brown to a 10-day contract in time for the game tonight. To beat a dead horse even more dead: this move finally comes after months of ignoring the obvious need for a point guard behind Mo Williams, in the absence of Ricky Rubio. Cheers to process!
Mo Williams is questionable
Even with Brown in the mix, the Wolves might be shorthanded at point guard yet again tonight. Williams is questionable for the game after hurting his hip this past Sunday in Atlanta, and also playing through the pain in OKC on Monday. Ricky Rubio (ankle), Shabazz Muhammad (oblique), and Robbie Hummel (wrist) will all remain out for tonight's game, and Kevin Martin is questionable.
Mo Williams will not play tonight due to personal reasons. Expected to rejoin the team tomorrow. #Twolves— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) January 28, 2015
New blog: Kevin Martin will make return tonight vs. Celtics after 34 games away http://t.co/TgMU2ua2VJ— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) January 28, 2015
Celtics are in town
Surprisingly enough, Boston has won three of their last four games entering tonight's matchup against the Wolves. Brad Stevens has his squad sitting a mere two games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, behind Brooklyn, at 16-27. The Celtics' last three wins have come against Northwest Division opponents: Portland, Denver, and Utah.
Earlier this season, the teams faced off in Boston. Kelly Olynyk scored 21 points to lead six Celtics in double figures, while Shabazz Muhammad led the Wolves with 26 points, and Chase Budinger scored a season-high 19 off the bench. Bud has scored in double-figures three times since (19 games).
And to conclude... here's an interesting stat: Gorgui Dieng has been called for traveling an NBA-high 18 times this season (he's developed a bad habit of shuffling his feet when pump faking, or giving head fakes, with the ball). It's not a serious issue or anything, but certainly something to monitor. Keep those feet planted, G!
I heard this song while watching Breaking Bad two night's ago. The track played as Walt and Jesse were hard at work in their trademark yellow coveralls, cooking up a fresh batch of... yeah you already know (Season 5, Episode 3 -- "Hazard Pay").