Posts tagged Minnesota Timberwolves
Joe FreshGoods and adidas helps the city of Chicago welcome Derrick Rose home for the holidays

Whether or not you're a fan of Derrick Rose, the man or the basketball player, what's undeniable is his magnetic connection to the city of Chicago - HIS city. 

In anticipation of D. Rose's return to Chicago as his Timberwolves play the Bulls the day after Christmas, Joe FreshGoods linked with the folks at adidas to create some digital art around the United Center.

Joe’s art is captivating, and the city is embracing the love.

Rose is nursing a sore ankle but should play Wednesday. He’s making a run for both the Sixth Man and Most Improved Player awards, averaging 18.5 points and 4.6 assists per game for Minnesota while shooting 48.5 percent from the field, and just shy of 47 percent from three-point range.

Takeaways from opening weekend of the NBA playoffs

It's the most wonderful time of the year: the NBA Playoffs are back in our minds and our hearts. Visions of James Harden crossovers and Draymond dick kicks play vividly in our heads as we await the crowning of a new champion.

Some games were wild, some were blowouts, and others, well... let's just say we all got a good laugh out of whatever the fuck is happening in Cleveland. So let's quickly go through some of our major takeaways from opening weekend.

The Warriors are fine, everybody. Stay calm

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Golden State fans have been worried about the Dubs all season, with injuries and fatigue playing a factor as they finished with the second-best record in the West. SOME were even frightened by the thought of playing Pop and the Spurs without Steph Curry.

You fucking fools.

The Warriors manhandled San Antonio 113-92, stifling the Spurs to just 40% shooting from the field. Last year's Finals MVP Kevin Durant finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Klay Thompson put on a fantastic shooting performance, ending with 27 points on 11 of 13 shooting, 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. We even saw our first glimpse of 'Playoff' Javale McGee, adding 15 points, four boards and two blocks in a late start.

The Warriors looked unbeatable, something they haven't looked like for most of the regular season. Even without Steph, that championship mentality remains among the reigning defending NBA champs.

Victor Oladipo has arrived

Getty Images

Getty Images

Vic is having a breakout season, and if there wasn't any indication that he's a star in this league, Sunday's game against the Cavs was it.

Oladipo scored 32 points, 11 of 19 from the field and 6 of 9 from deep, leading the Pacers to a stunning 18-point victory in Cleveland to take game one of this best-of-seven series. It's the first time in history LeBron James has lost a playoff opener.

The Cavaliers were persistent, coming within seven in the fourth, but the Pacers kept control of the game, playing inspired basketball behind Dipo and Lance Stephenson, whose dunk in the first quarter really set the tone for the rest of the game. LeBron finished with his 20th career playoff triple-double, but the rest of Cleveland struggled. The other starters combined for just 25 points, and as a team Cleveland shot 8 of 34 from long range, and missed eight free throws.

The Cavs will likely rebound in game 2, but if they don't, that spotlight will only grow larger on LeBron.

Anthony Davis ain't goin out like no punk bitch

Looking for the first playoff victory of his career, Anthony Davis went into Portland and snatched the soul (and home-court advantage) straight out of the Trail Blazers and their fans.

The Brow had 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the Pelicans's 97-95 win over the Blazers. A.D. wasn't alone; Jrue Holiday put up 21 points and had a big block in Portland's final possession of the game, Rajon Rondo added 17 assists and eight boards, and a clean-shaven (read: fucking hideous) Niko Mirotic dropped 16 points and eleven rebounds to will the Pelicans to a game one win.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum tried to press a fourth-quarter comeback, nearly erasing a 19-point deficit, but it wasn't enough. The duo combined for just 37 points in the contest, and only took three free throws between them. The series is still way too early to call, but Portland needs their star backcourt to show up early in game 2 or else this could get ugly as the series makes its way to New Orleans.

'Playoff P' isn't as dumb of a nickname as I thought

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Okay upon further review, "Playoff P" is sooooo much better than PG-13. Paul George exploded for 36 points and eight threes, an OKC playoff record, as the Thunder downed the Jazz 116-108. PG is no stranger to playoff theatrics, but this is his first with Oklahoma City. A welcome sight to Thunder fans as this kind of production opposite Russell Westbrook was sorely missing last season.

Russ got his, indeed; 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from the 2017 NBA MVP, but Sunday night was all about George. Big nights from him are necessary for OKC to get past Utah, and surely if they want to challenge Houston and Golden State in the rounds to come.

Also worth paying attention to Donovan Mitchell's left foot. He left in the second half although he did return in the fourth but was noticeably having trouble moving up and down the court. He finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his playoff debut.

Harden comes through in the playoffs, but the Timberbulls won't back down

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it's only the first round, but James Harden was clutch Sunday night, scoring 44 points and willing the Rockets to a game one win over Minnesota 104-101. Harden's 13 in the fourth powered Houston past a Timberwolves team that looked ready for the big stage, having missed the postseason since 2004.

The T'Wolves almost caught the Rockets on a bad night. Houston shot just 10 of 37 from 3-point range, an anomaly for the best 3-point team in the league. But strong play from Harden and Clint Capela (24 points, 12 boards) propelled Houston to a victory.

It's also a problem when your best player, Jimmy Butler, is shooting worse than Derrick Rose, and Karl-Anthony Towns is being checked for just eight points. That seemingly won't happen again, which should give Minnesota hope they can steal a game or two in this series, but neither will the Rockets' shooting woes. The Timberwolves missed a prime opportunity to steal a game from Houston. For their sake, let's hope it doesn't come back to bite them in the ass.

Final Takes

Marco 'Big Balls' Belinelli is back in the playoffs, which means I can bring this classic back.

The refs should've given the Bucks a game one win over the Celtics for Khris Middleton's tying shot at the end of regulation. HOLY SHIT!

Hey Raptors fans... THE STREAK... IS OVER.

Jimmy Butler is good at basketball
Ben Margot, Associated Press

Ben Margot, Associated Press

As the title says, Jimmy Butler is good at basketball. It’s crazy in 2018 I still have to say this but apparently some people still underrate Jimmy. He’s won the Most Improved Player award - that’s not enough. He’s made 3rd Team All-NBA as a forward - in a league where guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis exist - and that’s still not enough. He’s statistically improved every season and, again, that’s still not enough.

So I guess I now must write an article explaining why, well, Jimmy Butler is good at basketball.

When Jimmy left the Bulls via trade and landed in Minnesota, many fans were convinced Jimmy was going to be the third option. And I’ll be honest, I was one of them.

Not because I doubted Jimmy’s abilities but because I expected Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to come into their own as young NBA stars this season.

Towns averaged 25.1 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game last season while Wiggins added 23 ppg on 45 percent shooting.

As the season began the Wolves played as if Jimmy was the third option.

Wiggins and Towns averaged 16 shots per game each in October while in November, Wiggins averaged 15.4 shots and Towns averaged 13.9 shots.

Jimmy averaged 13.2 shots in October and 14.5 shots in November.

This formula made the Timberwolves a middle-of-the-road team, finishing November at 14-10.

Then the Timberwolves realized what we all should have realized - Jimmy Butler (who now averages 21.7 PPG, 5.0 APG, 5.4 RPG) is the best player on that team. No, I’m not saying he has a better post game than Towns and no I’m not saying he has a greater first step or crossover than Wiggins.

But Jimmy is likely the only player on that team on whom you can count to give a consistent all-star effort each night.

In December it seems the T’Wolves, and Jimmy, realized just that.

Jimmy averaged 17.9 shots per game and averaged 26 points on 50 percent shooting. Also, anyone who’s watched Jimmy knows he’s at his best when he’s going to the foul line. In the last month of 2017 he averaged 7.7 free throw attempts per game and made 7.2 - for those of who bringing out your calculator that’s 92 percent.

With Jimmy leading the charge, the T’Wolves went 10-5 in December and brought their record to 24-15.

In January, Jimmy’s shots are back down to 14.3 per game but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped being aggressive. His free throw attempts are up to 8.6 per game and he’s shooting 87 percent.

Oh, by the way, the T'Wolves are 6-4 in January. Maybe it’s time for Jimmy to start shooting more.

We can stop talking about his offense though because we all know Jimmy makes his bones on defense. He’s one of the best on-ball and off-ball defenders in the league. So obviously, the Timberwolves - who rank 21st in defensive rating this year - are far better at stopping teams when he’s on the court.

According to Basketball Reference, when he’s on the court the Wolves have a 106.8 defensive rating and when he’s on the bench the Wolves have a 117 defensive rating.

Lastly, here’s the thing that sets Jimmy apart - he’s one of three players in the NBA outside of LeBron and Kawhi who, on the last possession of the game, you trust to get you a good shot on the offensive end and guard the best player on the defensive end.

Last season we watched countless games where down the stretch Jimmy had to carry the Bulls offense and guard guys like John Wall, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.

Jimmy averaged 4.3 points per game in clutch time - when the score is within five points and there’s under five minutes to go in the game – which was good for third in the NBA among people who played at least 25 games in clutch time. He was behind only Russell Westbrook, who won MVP, and Isaiah Thomas, who led the Celtics to the No. 1 seed in the East.

Look, I get why you don’t like Jimmy. He’s cocky and he’s pretty corny.

Also, he’s not very flashy. Jimmy doesn’t have a great crossover like James Harden, a great jumpshot like Bradley Beal and isn’t as quick as C.J. McCollum.

Doesn’t matter. Jimmy is still able to get to the basket, draw fouls when he needs to, and create space to get off a solid mid-range jump shot (which he’s shooting at 44 percent, btw.) Oh, and he can lock up your favorite player.

Despite whatever reason you may not be Jimmy Butler fan, Jimmy Butler is still good at basketball.