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  • Alexander: Why do the NBA Finals feel like a warm-up act to free agency?

    first_imgFree agency? That’s the unspoken yet unmistakable subplot/distraction. Durant and Leonard are 1-A and 1-B on everyone’s free agent wish lists, and Clippers and Knicks fans will be watching this series with particular interest, just because.Lakers fans probably shouldn’t go down that road. As their team’s organizational dysfunction continues, with disgruntled rank-and-file employees following (and implicating) Earvin Johnson in blurting out damaging information, the chances become ever more remote that a megastar will show up to join LeBron James.And while the Warriors and Raptors players will try to focus on winning a championship the next two weeks, no one can assure that those around them will remain mum. Dennis Robertson, Kawhi’s uncle, already popped the lid on that theory in an interview with Yahoo Sports that was published Sunday. He didn’t speculate on the future but instead dredged up the past, the spat with San Antonio last year over the severity of Leonard’s calf injury that ultimately led to Kawhi being traded to Toronto.“They didn’t believe Kawhi couldn’t play and that caused a lack of trust in us and then us not believing in them,” Robertson told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. “… They didn’t believe him, and after that, the relationship couldn’t recover and we decided we had to move on.”Related Articles Clippers rookies key overtime victory over Oklahoma City Clippers’ rhythm is missing but their spirits strong before playoff opener AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIt is the consequence of an environment where what happens off the court has become more intriguing than what happens on it. These are the best players in the world, on display nightly, but even compelling basketball often takes a backseat to the drama and the personalities, who’s saying what about whom on social media and who might or might not have a burner Twitter account.(And we haven’t even gotten to the latest chapter of As The Lakers Turn yet.)The NBA is enjoying runaway popularity precisely because it is a personality-driven league, and because those personalities take on a larger-than-life aura, even with someone like Leonard who does as much as he can to eschew the spotlight while staking a claim as the game’s best player. But the flip side of that popularity comes when an entire season competes for attention with speculation about who’s going to be where next season.According to the interview transcripts supplied by the NBA, the media on hand for Wednesday’s pre-series interview sessions in Toronto limited their questions to the matchup at hand. That’s to their credit, because this best-of-seven series deserves to stand on its own.Then again, Kevin Durant was not listed among the interview subjects Wednesday. He is officially not playing in Game 1, Steve Kerr confirmed, and how soon he does play will be determined by how soon he’s able to practice. But no time at the podium means no questions to the notoriously sensitive Durant about his role or about the Warriors’ ability to win without him. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers center_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years When Kawhi and his people asked for a trade, his preference was said to be a return home to Southern California, though it was never explicitly stated. So, naturally, Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford shipped him about as far from L.A. as you can get in the trade for DeMar DeRozan.All season, the question was whether Kawhi was happy enough in Toronto to entertain the thought of staying. And when he and the Raptors were at Staples in December for a game against the Clippers, I asked him if there were things about playing in Toronto that were maybe a little different or took some getting used to.“Not really,” he said. “It’s still two goals and a basketball. Just different teammates.”So true. Maybe, for the next two weeks, we’d all be better off tuning out the stay-or-go chatter and focusing on the basic elements.Two goals. One ball. And one trophy, which is the point of the whole exercise, isn’t [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Does anyone remember when the NBA Finals represented the league’s crown jewel event, the absolute crescendo of the season?No longer. Now, if you listen to the chatter surrounding the league, the championship round might as well be a way station, a stop on the way to June 30 and the new start of the free agency period, when the real action begins.When the Warriors and Raptors tip off Game 1 on Thursday night in Toronto, Canada’s euphoria over basketball and the Warriors’ bid for a three-peat will almost be side issues. The other storyline will involve Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, where their next stops will be and whether the result of the Finals will influence their decisions.Gee, whatever happened to winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy for its own sake? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

  • The best MTV ‘The Challenge’ cast members of all time, ranked

    first_imgFinally, Ashley is a hook-up queen, and she’s not ashamed of it. She’s living her best life, as they say, and making a ton of money while doing it. Like LeBron James, she’s invested some of that money back into her body, which undoubtedly has only enhanced certain aspects of her Challenge performance. Honorable mentions:Rachel Robinson (“Road Rules: Campus Crawl”). Rachel posted two wins and three finals in seven seasons, including a win on “Duel 2” when she technically finished ahead of all the males in the final.Camila Nakagawa (“Spring Break Challenge”). Say what you will about the “Camilanator,” but she got the job done more often than not. She also punched a PA in the face, walked into a pool with her clothes on, and went on a racist tirade against Leroy Garrett, so there’s that, too.Sarah Rice (“Real World: Brooklyn”). Sarah had a tumultuous Challenge history, getting disqualified because of her partner twice (Trishelle Cantella quit on her, and Vinny Foti was an idiot, as usual) and having to withdraw during a final because of a medical issue. Even worse, after one of her two wins, she didn’t get any money because Bananas kept it all. Still, five finals and two wins is pretty good, especially since one involved her stabbing Bananas in the back. Jenny West (“War of the Worlds 2”). Arguably the most physically dominant female in Challenge history, West only needs one more season like her title-winning showing on “Total Madness” to move into the top five.Jodi Weatherton (“Road Rules: X-treme”). She competed in just three Challenges, but she took home two wins, including an impressive solo showing in “Duel 1.”Susie Meister (“Road Rules: Down Under”). Two wins and four finals in four team seasons is solid, but Susie also brought entertaining commentary and narration skills to the table.Veronica Portillo (“Road Rules: Semester at Sea”). All three of Veronica’s wins came in team challenges before 2005, but the mere fact she was on a season in ’00 and again in ’18 merits a mention here.Just missed the cut:Holly Shand (“Road Rules: Latin America”)Coral Smith (“Real World: Back to New York”)Tori Hall (“Road Rules: Viewer’s Revenge”)Paula Menorek (“Real World: Key West”)Aviv Melmed (“Fresh Meat 1”)Natalie “Ninja” Duran (“War of the Worlds 1”) (Related: As a hurricane hit the Challenge house on “Battle of the Seasons 1,” married couple Chadwick Pelletier and Holly Brentson argued with BDT about her child-rearing practices. She literally cursed them, saying, “I hope you never get a child, yo. I hope that for your ass,” which is as cold-blooded as anything ever said on the show.)So, while the total number of wins and finals matter, we weight them based on the era of the Challenge in which they occurred, with more recent wins being worth a little extra. The competition is more serious and the finals are generally much more grueling now.We balance out that inherent recency bias with anecdotal evidence and intuition gleaned from watching far too many hours of this show. Hey, we’re allowed to be at least a little subjective. After all, we’re talking about an MTV reality show that is as much about getting drunk and hooking up as it is competition, so we’re dealing with a bit of an inexact science here. You might disagree with our picks, but that’s OK. Just don’t scream at us like Camila, punch us like CT, or wish us barren like Belou Den Tex.(Note: The following lists have been updated since their original publishing prior to “Total Madness.”)Best male ‘Challenge’ cast members of all time1. Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio (“Real World: Key West”)The facts: Bananas has appeared on the most Challenges (20) and has the most Challenge titles (7). He’s achieved mainstream success while also staying as closely tied to “The Challenge” as anyone in show history. He’s eminently quotable (Sarah probably stills hears, “I’m gonna go ahead and take the money and run, Teej” in her nightmares), remarkably mentally tough, and the quintessential schemer, which is summed up by this monologue:”I’ve been accused in the past of being a dirty player, but, you know, nothing really comes to mind…other than, I don’t know, leaving Paula on a deserted island, destroying a relationship in order to further my position in the game, and I took $275,000 from a partner. But other than those, I can’t really think of what dirty moves I’ve done in the past.” Prior to “Total Madness,” we had him No. 3 on our list, but after another win that moved him into first on the all-time prize money list ($1,184,720), we had to put him in the top spot. Why wasn’t he there to begin with? Well, for as great as Bananas’s career has been, it never felt like he was the best competitor at any given time. One can argue, “The wins proved he was the best,”, which, yeah, sure…but was he really? His most impressive performance was during his solo victory on “Free Agents” when he took out both of the guys direct below him on this list in elimination comps (though he beat CT on a puzzle, which was lame). That was always his best argument for being No. 1. However, as was showcased on “Total Madness,” we might have been focusing too much on physical prowess and not giving enough credit to Bananas’s political/mental game. That’s just as much as part of “The Challenge” as anything, and he masterminded some dominant alliances. Beyond that, he (and his partner) ultimately took out CT in two eliminations right before the finals (“Free Agents”, “Rivals 1”) and beat him in a final when CT gassed out (“Battle of the Exes 1”). Yes, it’s tough to shake the image of the “Johnny Bananas Backpack,” and, prior to his “Total Madness” win, his lackluster past few seasons were putting an undue stain on his legacy. Even with all that being said, after yet another ring in a strong season, it’s tough to deny Bananas his place in history. And, ultimately, it doesn’t really matter where we rank Bananas because he’ll say he’s the best and he has the resume and overall success (including with the ladies) to back him up. He’s won at life, and that’s really all that matters to him. 2. Jordan Wiseley (original show: “Real World: Portland”)Jordan has won three championships and made four finals in six appearances, but his run of success isn’t just about the numbers. He’s won titles in some of the most stacked seasons ever, particularly his dominant solo win in “Dirty Thirty.” He’s done it all while proudly telling anyone who will listen that he’s the smartest and best competitor in any given season, and even nominating himself for elimination comps because he’s so certain he’ll come back. That hasn’t always worked out, as one of Jordan’s two pre-finals knockouts came when he pulled such a stunt in “Free Agents,” losing to Johnny Bananas in a classic elimination round. It was one of the few times in his five seasons when his lack of a fully formed left hand seemed to hurt his game play. Make no mistake, though, we’re not grading Jordan on a curve. He’s taken on all comers and handled himself in all competitions, and he’s mostly done so without the help of a strong alliance. Perhaps his most wily move was annoying the seemingly invincible Turbo so much by “copying his walk” (whatever that means) on “War of the Worlds 2” that Turbo threatened him and got kicked off the show. It was similar to LeBron James goading Draymond Green into punching him in the groin and getting suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals. The mere fact we’re comparing Jordan to LeBron tells you a lot about his place in Challenge history. (Yes, the analogy would work much, much better if we were comparing him to Michael Jordan, but we’ll take what we can get). If Jordan loses his edge and starts routinely finishing in the middle of the pack like he did on “Total Madness,” he could fall even lower, but he’ll likely pick his battles and continue to win titles at a high efficiency rate — kinda like Michael Jordan. There, we did it. 3. Chris “CT” Tamburello (“Real World: Paris”)CT has appeared on 17 Challenges, though four of those resulted in him getting disqualified or kicked off. Three of those were during his peak as the most fearsome Challenge competitor in history, and he almost certainly would have more than three titles if he could have controlled his temper/followed the rules (or if Eric “Big Easy” Banks hadn’t gassed out on “Gauntlet 3”). Ultimately, his resume is his resume, and while three titles and eight finals in 17 seasons is impressive, it still feels like he could have done more. That’s the case against CT being this high. The case for him being this high (or higher) is that his comp-to-comp peak was as dominant as we’ve ever seen. It was CT-against-the-world many seasons, and even though no one wanted to go against him, they did everything in their power to vote him into eliminations so others could face (and hopefully beat) him. He wasn’t just feared as a competitor; he was feared as a person. This clip of CT’s disqualification in an elimination round against Brad Fiorenza on “Duel 1” sums up the full young CT experience. CT’s dominance is about more than his game play. He’s always been one of the most entertaining cast members that’s ever been on the show, gifting us with such moments as the time he leveled Bananas and Tyler Duckworth at the same time on “Rivals 1” (“Choo-choo!”); the time he had this exchange (14:42) during a cookie-eating elimination comp against Shane Landrum on “Inferno 1”: “CT, we’re not going to be able to see your six-pack after all these cookies.” “You’re not gonna be able to see Shane after all these cookies;” or the most infamous Challenge moment of all-time, the “Johnny Bananas Backpack” from “Cutthroat” — a season CT wasn’t even on but was brought back for as a special guest.Throw in the many impressive hook-ups (including once on a roof) and touching relationship with the late Diem Brown, and CT covered all the bases. He even showed he could make an appropriate sports metaphor when, prior to winning his first final, he said, “I don’t want to be Dan Marino, I want to be Tom Brady”There are countless more examples of memorable CT moments (both good and bad), but anyway you look at it, it adds up to one of the top cast members in Challenge history. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have more second-round knockouts at the hands of rookies like Jay Starrett in his future.4. Landon Lueck (“Real World: Philadelphia”)You can make a strong case for Landon to be higher on this list; you can also make a case for him to be lower. He appeared on just four challenges, the last of which came in 2010 (“Fresh Meat 2”), so it’s tough to say how he would have fared in the more competitive, more physically grueling seasons that were yet to come. But considering the way he won his last season — legitimately dragging/pushing a completely out of it (and possibly deceased) Carley Johnson up a mountain — we’re confident Landon could have excelled in any era. Ultimately, Landon won three of his four challenges — two of which were team titles and the last of which was the aforementioned pairs title. He competed in one solo Challenge (“Duel 2”) and finished fourth, but he won five out of 10 competitions (plus one duel) and dominated that season until a surprising (and somewhat controversial) loss to Brad in the last elimination comp before the final. Given his calm demeanor, fearlessness, superior climbing ability, and compact strength, it’s entirely possible Landon was the best pound-for-pound competitor in Challenge history. One knock against Landon was his lack of memorable quotes or moments. He’s simply remembered for how dominant of a competitor he was despite a short run on the show, and that’s ultimately not a bad legacy to have — especially on a show like this where your most memorable moments are often regrettable. 5. Darrell Taylor (“Road Rules: Campus Crawl”)Like Landon, Darrell’s best days came in an earlier, slightly less competitive version of “The Challenge.” Also like Landon, he was a beast who could have shined anytime, anywhere. All told, he won four finals in his first six seasons, and he almost certainly would have had won five if not for a strange incident when a drunk Brad provoked Darrell into punching him and getting disqualified on “The Ruins.” Darrell then went AWOL from “The Challenge” for nine seasons, only to lose to CT in the last elimination before the final on “Invasion of the Champions” and surprisingly struggle on “Dirty Thirty.” If Darrell hadn’t come back and finished with four titles in six seasons, he would probably be higher on this list, so perhaps it’s unfair that we’re knocking him down a few spots, but every appearance counts. No-nonsense Darrell wasn’t a schemer like Bananas, an intimidator like CT, or a s*** talker like Jordan, but he was undoubtedly respected by competitors and fans like. Honorable mentions:Wes Bergmann (“Real World: Austin”). An all-time schemer and elimination-round champ who turned in one of the best single-season performances ever on “Duel 1” en route to one of his two titles. Kenny Santucci and Evan Starkman (“Fresh Meat 1”). Kenny and Evan are forever linked, not only because they came in together and had similar success (five total titles, four other finals), but also because they started the now defunct “Suck Yeah” clothing company (actual name). They also were banished from “The Challenge” together for an allegedly disturbining incident involving castmate Tonya Cooley. Derrick Kosinski (“Road Rules: X-treme”). This gritty underdog won three titles in 10 seasons and treated us to some of the most epic eliminations in Challenge history. He also taught us that the “low man wins.”Brad Fiorenza (“Real World: San Diego 1”). Brad has just one title in 10 seasons, but he could easily have four. He finished the “Duel 1” final faster than Wes, but Wes had a two-minute advantage because of a soccer shootout (seriously); he lost by one second to Evan in the “Duel 2” final (literally one second); and he fell victim to the “Great Big Easy Gas Out” on “Gauntlet 3” (a sure win). Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (“Real World: Back to New York”): Two wins and two more finals in five seasons. The Miz has gone on to bigger things since “The Challenge,” but if he had hung around, he undoubtedly would be one of the most decorated cast members ever. Jamie Murray (“Real World: New Orleans 1”). Three Challenges, three championships. All were team Challenges and came before 2006, so it’s tough to say how Jamie would fare in the modern Challenge era, but he was an early beast.Alton Williams (“Read World: Las Vegas 1”). Another early-season star who won a title and made three finals in his four appearances. Turabi “Turbo” Camkiran (“War of the Worlds 1”). His first season was throughly dominant (I mean, he got superhero special effects), though we still haven’t seen him in an elimination. Just missed the cut:Abram Boise (“Road Rules: South Pacific”)Mark Long (“Road Rules: USA 1”)Zach Nichols (“Real World: San Diego 2”)Tyler Duckworth (“Real World: Key West”)Theo Von (“Road Rules: Maximum Velocity”)Best female ‘Challenge’ cast members of all time1. Evelyn Smith (“Fresh Meat 1”)Is Ev really better than Emily? Maybe, maybe not, but as is the case with the male list, the complete resume has to be factored in. Ev appeared on four more Challenges (7) than Emily and won two more titles (3). She should have had a fourth, but she also fell victim to Big Easy’s medical DQ on “Gauntlet 3.” Honestly, she probably would have had a fifth if she didn’t tank an elimination for KellyAnne Judd on “The Ruins.” She actually might have six if she wasn’t a last-minute replacement on “Fresh Meat 2” and forced to partner with Luke Wolfe. (You might remember Luke from his grand scheme of kissing another guy in order to get a kiss from Jenn Grijalva.) Ev was physically dominant during her seven seasons, and she could also play the mental game, which was best shown on “The Island” when she went head-to-head with Bananas the entire season and ultimately put herself in a position to force Bananas to betray one his best friends, Paula Menorek, and team up with her in the finals. Evelyn was just 24 when she called it a Challenge career, so she clearly had more good years left. Either way, she did more than enough to earn this top spot. 2. Cara Maria Sorbello (“Fresh Meat 2”)Cara Maria has appeared on the most Challenges ever for a female (14), and even though she has just two wins, she’s made a staggering nine finals. She also won the first Challenge with just one overall champion, narrowly edging Zach Nichols on “Vendettas.” Without that, she’d probably be lower on this list, especially when you factor in that her first title (“Battle of the Bloodlines”) came in one of the weakest seasons in modern Challenge history. (Raphy Medrano? Stephen Buell? Get the hell outta here.)Regardless, the resume is sound, but Cara Maria, despite looking the part, has rarely felt like a dominant force. And if she is a dominant force, why isn’t she winning more finals? (The same argument could be made about younger CT.) She also complains — a lot — which doesn’t seem like something a best-ever should do, but drama is an integral part of “The Challenge,” so maybe that’s a plus for her. The bottom line is Cara Maria has been an elimination beast during her time on “The Challenge,” and even if she’s not winning it all, she’s making finals (including dragging human albatross Marie Roda to the “Final Reckoning” final, which is probably her best achievement on the show). No other female can say that, so her all-time spot is secure (even if it annoys you). 3. Emily Schromm (“Real World: D.C.”)Physically, Emily is arguably the best female competitor ever. That’s no knock on Ev or Jenny West or anyone else on this list, but the woman is a monster. However, she appeared on just three seasons (not counting her “Champs vs. Stars” appearance), and with just one win, it’s tough to put her in either of the top two spots.To be fair, she made the finals in all three seasons despite having mediocre (at best) teammates all three times. Just look at who she made finals with: Jenn on “Cutthroat” (no other wins), Ty Ruff on “Battle of the Exes 1” (not close to any other wins), and Paula on “Rivals 2” (one other win in 10 total tries, and that was with Evelyn). As we did with Landon above, we have to project a bit with Emily, but long-time viewers know just how good she was.4. Laurel Stucky (“Fresh Meat 2”)Laurel’s legacy was unassailable (four challenges, four finals) until two disappointing performances in her past two appearances, the latter of which featured an unfortunate “crotch chop” after she thought she won an elimination round against Ninja on “War of the Worlds 2” (she didn’t). That aside, it’s still tough to overlook how physically dominant Laurel was/is. She breezed to finals in his first four Challenges, finally winning during the individual “Free Agents” season. It’s kind of surprising she didn’t win before that, as she was arguably on the best team on “Fresh Meat 2” (Kenny) and “Rivals 1” (Cara Maria), but such is life. Laurel was 9-0 in elimination comps prior to a surprise defeat at the hands of Camila Nakagawa on “Invasion of the Champions” and the aforementioned loss to Ninja on “War of the Worlds 2.” Perhaps we’re downgrading her too much for coming back for more while Ev and Emily have stayed away and kept their sterling records intact, but, again, we’re looking at the full picture here, and Laurel hasn’t done herself any favors lately. Still, even with just one finals win, Laurel has earned her spot in the top five, and she could continue to move up if she returns and wins another one. 5. Ashley Mitchell (“Real World: Ex-plosion”)Ashley has won the second-most prize money in Challenge history ($1,121,250) and has done so in a more competitive era, so it’s easy to pick her here, but is she really better than Rachel Robinson, who had one of the best individual seasons ever on “Duel 2,” or Camila, who scratched, screamed, and scowled her way to two titles and four finals in 10 seasons? You could argue for any of the three, but a closer look at the resumes shows Rachel made just three finals despite being on some pretty weak casts, and Camila…well, she’s super annoying and got herself banned from “The Challenge” for being too much of an insurance risk. Let that sink in for a second. Ashley isn’t exactly easy to live with either (remember when she sabotaged her own team on “Champs vs. Stars 2,” which was a spinoff show for charity?), but she’s made three finals in seven seasons (really six seasons if you don’t count “Dirty Thirty,” where she withdrew before the first competition), winning two, including an individual title on “Invasion of the Champions.” She’s also one of the iciest females in Challenge history, opting to keep $1 million for herself instead of sharing $500,000 with her partner, Hunter Barfield, after they won “Final Reckoning.” Her reasoning was debatable, but the bottom line is it was her choice and she could give any reason she damn well pleased.  As “The Challenge” wraps up its 35th season (“Total Madness”), what better time to break down the best cast members in the history of MTV’s hit reality show? Much like NBA fans debate Jordan vs. LeBron or football fans argue over Brady vs. Manning, Challenge fans will go at it over whether Johnny Bananas or CT as the best male competitor of all time, as well as which female stands out among the rest.Before we get into who we picked, a few notes on our criteria. We didn’t simply go by the numbers, as the Challenge has majorly evolved during its 35 seasons. It started as more of a reality show than a competition show — so much so that Belou Den Tex brought her infant child with her on “Battle of the Seasons 1”  and Gladys Sanabria showed up to “Battle of the Sexes 1” while pregnant. It was truly a simpler time. (Update: Melissa Reeves competed the entire season on “Total Madness” — including the first leg of the final — while pregnant, though it was unbeknownst to her at the time. The jury is still out on whether that makes her unborn child the youngest competitor in Challenge history.)last_img read more

  • Timberwolves escape Thunder in Ryan Saunders’ coaching debut

    first_imgSTAT LINESWiggins made 16 of 18 free throws, one short of his career high for made free throws. Oklahoma City made 19 free throws overall.HE SAID ITWiggins, on run-in with Schroder in the third quarter: “I don’t know what’s wrong with him … I looked right through it. He’s not someone I see as a problem.”UP NEXTTimberwolves: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.Thunder: At the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next His team came through. Andrew Wiggins had a season-high 40 points and 10 rebounds, and the Timberwolves beat the Thunder 119-117 on Tuesday night.Saunders deflected credit after the game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“It’s unbelievable how they stayed connected throughout the whole game,” he said. “Down the stretch, there were so many times where we could have disbanded and then the crowd could have got into us. I can’t say enough about that team.”Saunders, just 32 years old, is the son of former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. The team fired Tom Thibodeau on Sunday. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title The players went all out for their new leader.Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders gestures in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)“He fed off our energy, and we fed off his energy,” Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said. “We were just trying to get a win for him.”Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 points and Dario Saric added 15 for the Timberwolves.Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook missed two 3-pointers in the closing seconds that would have given the Thunder the lead. He finished with 25 points and 16 assists.“We just tried to stay solid, really,” Wiggins said. “We knew they were going to try to be aggressive with either (Paul) George or Westbrook. If we’re going to foul, make a hard foul. And don’t let them hit the 3. That was the main thing.”ADVERTISEMENT Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? World no. 1 Simon Halep stunned in Sydney ahead of Australian Open Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ 45th MMFF Parade of Stars: A Sunday spectacle in Taguig PLAY LIST 01:5245th MMFF Parade of Stars: A Sunday spectacle in Taguig05:21Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIEScenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) drives between Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) and center Steven Adams (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY — Ryan Saunders went right into the fire in his first game as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ interim coach.His debut was a down-to-the wire finish with the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of the best teams in the Western Conference.ADVERTISEMENT Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ George scored 27 points and Steven Adams added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City.Thunder reserve center Nerlens Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter after Wiggins made contact with him on a dunk attempt.Noel took an elbow in the face as Wiggins went up, and Noel hit the ground hard. A defensive foul was called on Noel. The play was reviewed, and no additional fouls were called. Noel was down for several minutes before being taken from the court. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Noel was taken to the University of Oklahoma’s OU Medical Center.“I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk,” Wiggins said. “He tried to contest it. I think he fell wrong. I didn’t really see it until I saw him on the ground. Hopefully, he’s good. I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope he gets healthy soon and comes back stronger.”In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City guard Dennis Schroder somehow won a jump ball with Towns, and Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to give the Thunder a 111-110 lead.Josh Okogie’s corner 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left put the Timberwolves up 119-115.Westbrook made two free throws, then Minnesota’s Tyus Jones traveled with 15.5 seconds left to give the Thunder a chance.TIP-INSThunder: G Alex Abrines missed his fifth consecutive game for personal reasons. … Schroder was listed as questionable with a left quad contusion, but he entered the game in the first quarter. … Westbrook fell one assist short of his season high.Timberwolves: G Derrick Rose missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle. … F Robert Covington missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right knee. … Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague was ejected in the third quarter after a skirmish with Schroder. He finished with eight points in 26 minutes. … Wiggins and Towns both finished with five fouls. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra View commentslast_img read more

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