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Eurobasket Semifinal, Lynx Get Underway in the Playoffs

Two actual basketball games today--happy Friday everyone.

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Hey, there are two interesting basketball games to watch today!  That's a happy development.

Serbia vs. Lithuania 
2:00 pm CDT

The winner of this semifinal match up automatically qualifies for next summer's Olympics and will face Spain for the European championship on Sunday. Serbia remains the only unbeaten team in the tournament, and will look to finish off the Lithuanians,who are led inside by Jonas Valanciuanas, and on the wing by Jonas Maciulis of Real Madrid. Serbia has been making hay in the paint, with post-ups from their bigs, but will be facing a similarly tall team in the Lithuanians, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments get made.

Of course the person of interest for Wolves fans is Nemanja Bjelica, who has been having an excellent tournament, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. He hasn't dominated every game, but that rarely happens in international basketball. He's been solid throughout, playing a major role in Serbia's success. A win in this tournament would establish Serbia as the current power in Europe after they made the Finals of last summer's World Cup, losing only to the U.S.

Lynx vs. Sparks
8:00 pm CDT

I'll have more on the Lynx a bit later today, but they start their playoffs tonight at home against the Sparks as the #1 seed in the West. The Sparks finished the season at only 14-20, but this is a bit misleading as they were a much stronger team in the 2nd half of the season after the return of Candace Parker from injury. It isn't going to be an easy series for the Lynx, who are still trying to get healthy. Both Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen are expected to play tonight, but neither has appeared since August, so how quickly they get in the flow remains to be seen.

Wolves Notes

  • The Wolves have signed veteran big man Kleon Penn to a non-guaranteed contract in time for training camp. Penn has been playing professionally in Puerto Rico.
  • They have signed a similar deal with Nick Wiggins, brother of Andrew, who spent some time last season overseas and with the D-League following a college career at Wichita State.

Ask Jer

It's time for our new feature "Ask Jer."  Average Jer is taking your questions--the doctor is in. Please post your questions for Jer in the comments, and he will answer them in a column next week. Jer is a world renowned expert on, well, nothing, but he's a reasonably level headed guy who can make up an answer with the best of them.

So post your questions and wait for Jer's terrific advice coming soon.

Today's musical birthday is Dee Dee Ramone, bassist and songwriter for The Ramones, born in 1951 (d. 2002).

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