MINNEAPOLIS — As the NBA mourns the loss of Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant, and the eight additional victims of Sunday’s deadly helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, the league and its players move forward with heavy hearts and tear-filled eyes.
Karl-Anthony Towns took center court with a microphone to address the crowd before Monday night’s contest vs. the similarly positioned, in usual fashion, Sacramento Kings.
A tribute to Kobe followed.
Towns wore #24, while Robert Covington was in #8, as an ode to Kobe during player intros. Across the league, every team is doing the same along with taking an 8-second violation followed by another 24-second violation after tip-off to honor the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.
While it's been said millions of times over the years, the NBA is a business, and this game was business as usual in more than one way. The Wolves lost in the most epic, almost unimaginable possible way, leaving many people (including myself) totally uninterested in re-hashing much of the details that followed.
Andrew Wiggins played some of the greatest basketball of his life, ferociously locked-in, controlling a majority of possessions in a way that typically upsets diehard viewers more than anything else. Where is this type of dominance every night? Only Wiggins can truly know. Only Wiggins can control it. For six years, that frustrating inconsistency has lingered.
Buddy “Buckets” Hield has seemed deeply discontent in Sacramento this season. But he loved Kobe deeply, as many of the league’s best players do. His 42 points off the bench was a special reminder of the shooting (9-14 from 3) magic he brings.
The game was both totally over and not over at all as Wolves’ fans have become accustomed to. The 9-game losing streak seemed all but snapped against the Sacramento Kings. Those same Kings that fell at home to break the Wolves’ 11-game losing streak earlier in a season that’s quickly become defined by two painful streaks.
It was over until it wasn’t, for reasons that are still hard to explain beyond “It’s Wolves.” How does one begin to explain such an extreme meltdown without simply attributing it to a history marred in such deep disappointment.
This felt like the most improbable loss ever witnessed at Target Center. Maybe it was. ESPN Stats & Info tweeted a mind-boggling statistic after the collapse of a lifetime.
If you thought the Wolves couldn’t let us down anymore than we’ve already been let down — or perhaps impress us with such a new inconceivable failure that only leaves us to laugh at the unique ability to consistently disappoint in some of the most fascinating ways — here we are.
I’m left both speechless and unsurprised. Against all odds, the losing streak continues.
The Kings trailed the Timberwolves by 17 points with 2:49 left in the 4th quarter.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 28, 2020
Since 1996-97, the first year of play-by-play data, NBA teams entered the day 0-8,378 when trailing by 17 or more in the final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime.
The Kings won, 133-129. pic.twitter.com/w1ma1HD7cC