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Minnesota Timberwolves Hanging Onto Positive Energy, Neal Playing Well, and NBA News and Notes

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The Wolves are retaining a level of excitement despite losses, Gary Neal is making his mark from the bench, and Russell Westbrook is looking to make history.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Positive Energy Despite Losses

If you've watched any of the recent losses the Timberwolves suffered, you have to admit that, despite not pulling out the wins, there is a positive energy surrounding this team that didn't exist for much of the season. Kevin Garnett's return immediately increased fan excitement and sold more tickets, but it's more than that. In my opinion, the fact that a seasoned veteran and All Star like KG has confidence in this young team increases the positivity and outlook for the upcoming season.

Following a particularly rough loss to Denver Wednesday night, Flip Saunders called the defeat "the most disappointing loss we've had [...] we have been playing pretty well."

That being said, however, Garnett continues to work hard both on the court as well as keeping players' morale up on the sideline.

"This is a team that will fight for 48 minutes," Garnett said Wednesday. "This is a team where everyone will give what they have every night. That's a good sign."

Plus, let's be honest, every once in awhile we get awesome plays like this:


Thoughts on Gary Neal

When the Wolves first acquired Gary Neal from Charlotte in exchange for Mo Williams, I was less than impressed. Neal didn't seem to be a guy who would do much offensively or even see many minutes, and it was disappointing to see Williams leave Minnesota.

However, Neal is pleasantly surprising many Timberwolves fans, and he is adding quite the spark off the bench in recent games. Over the past three contests, Neal is averaging 16 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting. Those numbers are not too shabby.

If Neal can stay healthy and contribute the way he has as part of the reserves crew, he could play a significant role for the Wolves moving forward.

Goodbye to Glenn Robinson III

The news yesterday was that the Wolves swapped out GRIII, who they selected in the 2nd round of last summer's draft, for center Justin Hamilton. We talked about this yesterday when it happened, but a quick good luck to GRIII wherever he lands. Hamilton is a center with some offensive skills, particularly shooting the ball, but he is unlikely to help defensively or on the boards. He made his NBA debut in 2014 after being drafted in the 2nd round in 2012 and is probably no more than a third-string center. He is not under contract past this season.


Other Basketball News

  • Ray Allen announces he will sit out this season. On March 4, Allen announced that he will not play this season. So is the veteran retiring? He hasn't said so. Allen left things open-ended following the end of the 2013-2014 season, and there were several instances when it appeared Allen might join a squad this year. Allen said the following via ESPN:
"Over the past several months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what is best for me. I've ultimately decided that I will not play this NBA season. I'm going to take the remainder of this season, as well as the upcoming offseason, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I will play in the 2015-2016 season."
  • Russell Westbrook is the first player since Michael Jordan to record four straight triple-doubles. It was reported Thursday that Westbrook accomplished the feat, following an outstanding performance Wednesday against the 76ers. Westbrook tallied 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to help OKC to the 123-118 win. He has a long way to go before beating MJ's record, however. Jordan had seven straight triple-doubles and 10 in and 11-game span in 1989.

Lindsey's Friday Flick Recommendation

Let's go with another Oscar nominee for this one! It's pretty opposite from last week's recommendation, but you won't regret seeing this film:

Boyhood

Director Richard Linklater made history when he made this incredible movie over a 12-year period, using the same actors throughout. The film tracks the ups and downs of life of a boy from the age of six into adulthood. It's not a particularly fast-moving flick, but the story is excellently written and pulls at your heart strings.

Favorite quote in the movie: "You can't use the bumpers. Life doesn't give you bumpers."

Watch the trailer here: