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Flip Saunders Scouting in Europe, NBA Playoffs Continue

Flip Saunders went to Europe while the NBA playoffs continue

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Flip Saunders made his way to Europe to do some scouting, particularly to see Sevilla forward Kristaps Porzingis, who is projected as a lottery pick. Scuttlebutt has it that Flip thinks very highly of Porzingis, and depending on how the lottery plays out, may consider him for the Wolves as high as pick #3.  It isn't exactly clear what qualifies Porzingis as a high lottery pick, but...well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.

Meanwhile, he also saw Barcelona wing man Mario Hezjona:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Flip watched interesting draft prospect Mario Hezonja today in Zaragoza, Spain. He had 7 pts, 5 reb, &amp; 4 assists in a 103-67 win. <a href="">#twolves</a></p>&mdash; Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) <a href="">April 26, 2015</a></blockquote>

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But will not get to see Nemanja Bjelica, who is out with a groin injury apparently.

Not much happening in Wolves-dom at the moment; draft prep won't really get started until the combine and especially the lottery itself, when we will know exactly where the Wolves will be picking.

Meanwhile, in yesterday's playoff action...

Cleveland and Washington finished off sweeps in their respective first round series'.  The Cavs took care of the Celtics, but have lost Kevin Love for an undetermined length of time (likely at least two weeks) with a dislocated left shoulder, suffered at the hands of Kelly Olynyk, who held onto Love's arm as they were battling for a rebound. Love complained later that he thought it was done on purpose, which of course Olynyk denied.

Meanwhile, the Cavs have been much better with Love on the floor, and look like they will have to face a pretty tough Chicago Bulls squad without him.

The Wizards finished off their sweep of the Raps in terrific style, blowing them out in game four in Washington behind a spectacular 15-26 shooting performance from behind the arc. The Wizards now await the winner of the Hawks-Nets series, and probably are full of confidence that they can give the Hawks (currently up 2-1 and the #1 seed) a good run. As it relates to the Wolves, it's very possible that this display will save Randy Wittman's job in Washington, which would be a good thing.

Meanwhile...the Raps.  Masai Ujiri has done a great job in building that team to its current level, but they appear stuck, and changes pretty clearly have to be made. Dwayne Casey is likely done, though no word yet, and the roster needs some serious work. It's unclear what they will try to do; they have some tradeable pieces, but nothing of enormous value. DeMar DeRozan is...OK, but making $10M a year. Kyle Lowry is moveable, but for what? The bloom might be off the Jonas Valauciunas rose. It seems pretty clear that this iteration of the Raptors has reached its logical conclusion. Where they go from here will be something to follow this summer.

The Clippers got a split in San Antonio, and head back to L.A. for game five with the series tied 2-2. Chris Paul rebounded in a big way from his game three performance, going for 34 on 19 shots and getting into the paint at will. Blake Griffin went for 20 and 19, and the Clips got an added bonus of a 16 point, 7-8 shooting effort from everyone's favorite son Austin Rivers. Outside of game three, the Clips have really outplayed the Spurs in the series, and must feel like they have control back. We'll see what happens, but this is a good one.

Finally, the Mavs stayed alive against the Rockets, avoiding the sweep with a big home win. The Rockets went cold in the middle of the game while the Mavs were scorching hot, shooting 54% for the game.  James Harden struggled from 3 (1-7) and after a hot start, Dwight Howard disappeared offensively. Corey Brewer continues his hot shooting (22 points on 9-15), but it wasn't enough.  The Mavs avoided the sweep, but game five is back in Houston, where the Rockets will look to close it out.

Three games on tonight's schedule; we'll have a thread up for them later.

Today in history

1509: Pope Julius II excommunicates the entirety of Venice. 
1667: An impoverished John Milton sells copyright to Paradise Lost for 10 pounds.
1773: British Parliament passes Tea Act, setting off quite a chain of events. 
1805: U.S. Marines attack shores of Tripoli
1810: Beethoven finishes composing Fur Elise
1813: U.S. army captures Toronto while General Pike is killed
1861: Lincoln suspends Habeas Corpus
1861: West Virginia breaks off from Virginia after Virginia secedes from the Union
1877: Federal troops leave Louisiana, signaling end of Reconstruction
1915: Ataturk leads Turkish forces against allies in counter-attack
1945: Mussolini captured by Italian partisans

None of today's musical birthdays appeal to me at the moment, so I'll leave you with the aforementioned "Fur Elise," one of Beethoven's iconic compositions:

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