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Hawks, Warriors Even Series'; Wolves Prefer Okafor?

Some notes on the NBA playoffs and the Timberwolves.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks found their rhythm a little bit last night in Washington, controlling most of the game and hanging on late for a 106-101 win that evens their series with the Wizards at two games a piece. Jeff Teague (26 points) and Paul Millsap (19 on 7-13 from the field) shook off their struggles and looked a bit more like the players they were during the regular season.

For the Wizards, Bradley Beal poured in 34 and Paul Pierce had 22 on 5-7 from three, but Pierce missed a wide open three that would have tied the game in the last five seconds. Given Pierce's seemingly regular heroics, it was jarring to see that one bounce off the rim, but the Hawks were fortunate and get to return to Atlanta with home court advantage.

The Warriors also were able to even their series with the Grizzlies on the road last night, this one in a blowout. After struggling with their usually great shooting for a couple of games, the Warriors found the range last night, especially Stephen Curry who scored 33 on 11-22 from the field.

The Warriors were able to sideline Tony Allen in large part by forcing him to be a shooter early in the game, and when he was unable to make anything, Dave Joerger had to bench him. Nobody really stepped up offensively for the Grizzlies as the Warriors number one defense in the league stepped up. Mike Conley looked utterly worn out playing with a mask over his broken face, and only managed to go 4-15 from the field. It was one of those nights when the Warriors simply got out early and were never going to be caught. The series shifts back to Oakland for game five.

A couple of Timberwolves draft-related tweets from our local scribes yesterday:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">ESPN site&#39;s latest mock draft (4.0) still has Wolves picking Towns No. 1. And I still think that&#39;s wrong, unless something changes</p>&mdash; Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) <a href="">May 12, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Jerry thinks Okafor is top of the Wolves board. No sense worrying about it until the lottery, I guess. I much prefer Towns for reasons previously discussed, but Okafor certainly has his talents. Here's the future: Wolves draft Okafor ahead of Towns. At some point this summer or next season, Flip word salads about needing 2-way players. Nobody questions the disconnect. I mention it on Twitter. People yell at me.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">20-year-old big Nikola Milutinov is a potential stash guy at 31 or 36. Hear <a href="">#Twolves</a> Euro scout Zarko Durisic is a fan. TBD on Flip.</p>&mdash; Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) <a href="">May 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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I don't know much about Milutinov, other than he's from Serbia, plays for Partizan, and is tall and thin. Draft Express has him going early in the 2nd round, right around where the Wolves have two picks. Wouldn't be shocking.

Speaking of Draft Express, they have the list of participants and schedule for the draft combine that gets underway today. The next couple of days aren't public--interviews, medicals, some testing; I guess they are going to play some 5-5 later in the week. Many of the top names won't participate in certain activities, and Towns, Okafor, and Mudiay aren't there at all.

Today in history

919: Duke Henry of Saxony becomes King Henry I of Oostfrankischreich. (Just wanted to write Oostfrankischreich). 
1780: British troops occupy Charleston, SC
1789: St. Tammany Society forms in New York City
1789: Famed British abolitionist William Wilberforce makes his first speech in Parliament
1862: Union troops occupy Baton Rouge
1902: Massive strike of coal miners (over 100K) in PA seeking recognition of their Union
1937: Coronation of King George VI
1943: Axis troops in North Africa surrender

Today's musical birthday is Brett Gurewitz, guitarist and song writer for seminal California punk band Bad Religion, born in 1962.

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