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Big Win, Big Minutes

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The Wolves have a tough turnaround in Oakland tonight after beating Portland at home.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Notes

The Wolves beat the Blazers last night 110-109 as John recapped. This was the make-up game from last month that was postponed due to a wet floor at Target Center, and creates a very difficult turnaround for the Wolves, who flew to Oakland after the game last night and play the Warriors tonight on ESPN at 9:30 Central.

Tom Thibodeau didn’t hold anything back last night, however, and played his starters extremely heavy minutes. We’ve discussed the minutes several times recently, and last night was another example. I’m a believer in trying to win, but it’s also a continuum—playing your key guys 38 or 39 minutes in game 76 of a losing season seems extreme.

Voodoo got on me last night on Twitter for wanting wins but complaining about minutes, but here’s the point: if Thibs had played the starters 33 or 34 minutes instead, and they had lost the game, I would have been disappointed in the loss, but not remotely upset with Thibs for not playing guys enough.

Another bit here is that Kris Dunn only played six minutes. After a nice little five game stretch where he was playing 25+ minutes a night at the off-guard spot, he fouled out in 18 minutes against Sacramento, and hardly played last night. Struck me as odd.

All that said, eh. It’s not the end of the world. We knew Thibs likes to rely on guys for heavy minutes, and right or wrong, it isn’t going to change. I still think the positives outweigh the negatives by a fair distance.

The Wolves still sit with the 8th worst record in the league, one win ahead of the Kings and one behind the Pelicans, and look likely to stay there. Five of their last six are on the road, and the schedule is tough, though the last couple might not feature opponents with anything to play for.

Congratulations to North Carolina for winning the exploitation amateur college national championship. Hope those guys didn’t miss too many classes for this. I didn’t watch, but noticed a ton of complaining about the officials on Twitter.

Today in History

1581: Francis Drake knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
1660: Charles II issues Declaration of Breda.
1814: First abdication of Napoleon.
1818: Congress officially approves U.S. flag with 13 stripes and 20 stars.
1841: John Tyler becomes president after death of W.H. Harrison.
1862: Battle of Yorktown begins.
1870: Golden Gate park forms under city order.
1887: First woman elected as a mayor in U.S.: Susan Salter in Argonia, KS.
1902: Cecil Rhodes’ scholarship forms a week following his death. (see also: Rhodesia. The money, as always, is far from clean.)
1912: Chinese republic declared in Tibet.
1917: Senate votes 82-6 to participate in WWI.
1944: British troops capture Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
1944: Charles de Gaulle forms new regime in exile.
1949: Jordan and Israel sign armistice agreement.
1960: Senegal declares independence from France.
1968: Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated in Memphis.
1974: Hank Aaron hits his 714th home run, tying Babe Ruth.
1975: Bill Gates and Paul Allen form Microsoft.
1991: Senator John Heinz killed in plane accident.

Today’s Musical Birthday

Muddy Waters, born 1913 (d. 1983.)