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Finally there is joy in the Wolves postgame locker room

It was nice seeing the Timberwolves players having a little fun after a game for a change. Tonight they were giddy after the comeback, overtime win over the Hornets. After being so cool under pressure, Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng were throwing ice cubes at one another. Describing what was like to watch Andrew Wiggins hit that long three to send the game into overtime, LaVine referred to him as “that curly-haired sucker.’’

Outside the locker room, coach Tom Thibodeau was throwing a bit of ice around too, at least figuratively.

And correctly. Thibodeau went to great lengths not to get too high after this win, even though it ended a four-game losing streak.

“Obviously we’re pleased we won,’’ he said. “But we’ll gather tomorrow, have a day of recovery, and get back to work.’’

Here are some final thoughts on tonight’s game:

--Once again the Wolves bench was good. Both Shabazz Muhammad and Nemanja Bjelica scored 12 off the bench, Cole Aldrige had four points and eight rebounds and Kris Dunn was again efficient, with eight points and six assists in 16-plus minutes. The bench got the team going after a slow start, and against to start the fourth quarter with the team down 10.

--It looks like Wiggins might be getting his swagger back. He had 29 tonight, hit on 11 of 20 shots and two of seven three-pointers. He also had three steals.

--It was a very up and down game for Karl-Anthony Towns. But he sure was good late. He had eight points, two rebounds and an assist in the overtime.

--Ditto for Zach LaVine. He had 12 points after the third quarter:  10 in the fourth quarter and two in overtime.

--The Wolves had a season-high 32 assists tonight, proof that the players kept moving the ball, even when they were down.it was a season high

Tom Thibodeau, others look back on their time in New York

Outside the Wolves locker room at Madison Square Garden somebody put up a picture. With the caption “Welcome back!’’ there were pictures of Wolves GM Scott Layden, coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau, current Wolves big man Cole Aldrich and assistant coach Rick Brunson during their time with the New York Knicks.

All  of them looked a lot younger.

Layden spent four-plus years with the Knicks, first as general manager then as team president. Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Knicks for seven years starting with the 1996-97 season. Both Aldrich and Brunson played here.

Thibodeau talked at length about his time with the Knicks after morning shootaround today.

“That’s a long time ago,” he said. “It was a great time because of what the league was like at that time, too. We had a really good team. We got the finals, and unfortunately Patrick Ewing was hurt in the finals, so he didn’t play. Larry Johnson had a sprained knee. But I felt the Knicks had a chance to win the championship. That was in 1999. And then 1996 might have been our best team.’’

That 1996-97 team met the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, where the infamous brawl broke out near the end of Game 5. As a result, several Knicks players were suspended. Charlie Ward, Allan Houston and Ewing were suspended for Game 6. Larry Johnson and John Starks for Game 7. The Knicks, up 3-2 after five games, lost each of the final two games of the series.

“It was a great time,” Thibodeau. “Miami had a great team during that time. Chicago, obviously, had a great team. Indiana had a great team. So the games, every night you were going to be tested. And that atmosphere. In New York basketball is so important, it make it really enjoyable. And we had great guys, like Ewing, Johnson, Houston, Starks, Ward. Starks, [Charles] Oakley, Buck Williams. Tough, tough guys and they played for each other. We fell short in the end. I wish we could have had a shot at it with everyone healthy.’’

The Garden is special for Aldrich, too, who spent two seasons with the Knicks starting in 2013. “After a while you fall in love with the city,’’ he said. “I loved playing here. I loved walking into the Garden every day, hearing the cheers, hearing the boos, hearing the people yell at you and cheer for you. All within 2 minutes.’’

Rookie Kris Dunn played here often while at Providence; the Big East Conference tournament was held at the Garden. His strongest memory was the 2015 tournament when Providence pushed fourth-ranked Villanova to the wire before losing late on two free throws. Dunn had 22 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals in that game. “We were down,’’ he said. “I started to get my groove, got us back and on the last play the called a foul on us.’’

Dunn will have a large group of friends and family here from Connecticut. “This is a great place and I love playing here,’’ he said.

Here are some other notes from this morning:

--Playing the Knicks for the second time in three nights, both teams will know what to expect. But the Wolves are taking some solace from the way they finished Wednesday’s loss, storming back from 17 down in the fourth quarter to tie the game twice in the final minute before losing.

“Defensively we all played together,’’ Andrew Wiggins said. “We protected the paint, we played hard, we played comeback basketball. Now we need a full 48 minutes of it.’’

Said Thibodeau: “When we have good hand activity and we’re challenging shots correctly, good things can happen. But we have to be more consistent. You have to be able to do it for 48 minutes. That’s what we’re striving for. We’re not there yet.’’

--There was no media access for the Knicks this morning; that will come before the game, when we’ll learn the availability of Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee, both of whom are dealing with twisted ankles.

--Brandon Rush’s sore big toe might keep him out of another game. We’ll know more after he warms up pre-game.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    2 pm

  • Wild at Edmonton

    8:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • San Antonio at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, NBATV, 830-AM

  • NJIT at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at New Mexico

    8 pm on 88.5-FM

  • Wild at Toronto

    6:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto

    6 pm on TNT, 830-AM

  • Army at Gophers women's basketball

    8 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    5:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    6 pm

  • Detroit at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Edmonton at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Georgia Southern at Gophers men's basketball

    8 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    2 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Vikings at Jacksonville

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Gophers women's basketball at South Carolina

    2 pm on SECN, 88.5-FM

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Today's Scoreboard

No MLB games today

  • Detroit

    New Orleans

     

    - F

    28

    13

  • Houston

    Green Bay

     

    - F

    13

    21

  • San Francisco

    Chicago

     

    - F

    6

    26

  • Kansas City

    Atlanta

     

    - F

    29

    28

  • Los Angeles

    New England

     

    - F

    10

    26

  • Denver

    Jacksonville

     

    - F

    20

    10

  • Philadelphia

    Cincinnati

     

    - F

    14

    32

  • Miami

    Baltimore

     

    - F

    6

    38

  • Buffalo

    Oakland

     

    - End 1st

    3

    3

  • Tampa Bay

    San Diego

     

    - 1st, 10:15

    0

    7

  • Washington

    Arizona

     

    - 1st, 6:37

    0

    7

  • NY Giants

    Pittsburgh

     

    - 1st, 7:31

    0

    0

  • Carolina

    Seattle

    7:30 PM

    NBC

  • Orlando

    Detroit

    5:00 PM

  • New Orleans

    Oklahoma City

    6:00 PM

    FSN

  • Sacramento

    New York

    6:30 PM

  • Indiana

    LA Clippers

    8:30 PM

  • Montreal

    Los Angeles

     

    - 2nd, 1:55

    3

    4

  • Tampa Bay

    Carolina

    4:00 PM

  • Philadelphia

    Nashville

    5:00 PM

  • Detroit

    NY Islanders

    5:00 PM

  • Winnipeg

    Chicago

    6:00 PM

  • Anaheim

    Calgary

    8:30 PM

  • Minnesota

    Edmonton

    8:30 PM

    FSN

No MLS games today