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Wolves Back to Back Starts Tonight, Ping-Pong Balls (Ugh) at Stake

A bit of this and that for your Thursday.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolves will have the chance to keep the race for the eighth seed in the West tight tonight when they face the Blazers in Portland on TNT. A Wolves win would leave the Blazers even in the loss column with the Nuggets. Of course the Wolves just did beat the Blazers on Monday back in Minneapolis, with Karl-Anthony Towns dominating their small front line in the absence of Jusuf Nurkic. More on this game later.

This came up in comments yesterday, but I wanted to highlight an idea presented in Zach Lowe’s recent article: Eliminating the clock at the end of games in order to get rid of interminable fouling. In short: At the first stoppage under three minutes, the game clock would disappear, and the first team to reach the leading team’s score + seven points would win the game.

It sounds crazy, and in truth end-of-game doesn’t bother me too much, but the constant fouling isn’t ideal from the NBA’s perspective and isn’t really the true nature of the game. Before you dismiss it out of hand, consider that major rules changes have happened before: The 24-second shot clock and three-point shot come to mind. We’ve just always lived with those (though I remember a time before the three) so long they don’t seem radical.

It’s a fun idea for another April with no Wolves playoffs to look forward to.

What else is going on?

Sigh. My least favorite topic: The sixth-tenth spots in the lottery currently look like this:

6. Knicks: 30-48
7. Kings: 31-47
8. Wolves: 31-46
9. Mavericks: 32-46
10. Pelicans: 33-45

Having someone from Finland on the Wolves might be fun.

Both the Blazers and the Jazz (who the Wolves play tomorrow night) have significant motivation to win, so those are going to be tough ones. I will still root hard for victories—beating good teams that care means something.

That’s about all I got this morning.

Today in History

46 BC: Julius Caesar is victorious at the Battle of Thapsus.
1652: First European settlement is established in South Africa by Dutch East India Co.
1663: Charles II signs Carolina Charter.
1772: Tsar Peter the Great ends tax on beards (presumably overcoming resistance of the barber lobby.)
1782: Rama I becomes king of Siam after coup overthrows King Taksin.
1789: First Congress begins regular sessions
1830: Joseph Smith organizes Mormon Church
1843: William Wordsworth appointed Poet Laureate of Britain.
1862: Union victorious in Battle of Shiloh.
1889: Kodak’s flexible rolled film goes on market.
1909: Peary and Henson reach North Pole.
1917: U.S. declares war on Germany.
1919: Gandhi orders general strike.
1924: Fascists recieve 65% of the vote for parliament in Italy.
1973: NASA Launches Pioneer 11 aimed for Jupiter and Saturn.
1980: Post-It notes introduced.
1994: Plane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana is shot down, beginning the Rwandan genocide.

Today’s Musical Birthday

Charles Thompson, aka Black Francis, front man for the Pixies, born in 1965.