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Wolves will play into All-Star break without Tayshaun Prince

The Wolves play Toronto tonight at Target Center in their final game before a nine-day All Star break and they will do so without veteran and starting small forward Tayshaun Prince.

The team gave Prince permission to miss this morning's shootaround and tonight's game so he can be in Detroit tonight when the Pistons retire former teammate Chauncey Billups' jersey.

Someone on Twitter asked me if that's normal, to miss a day's work to attend such a ceremony. No, it's not normal. It's probably a thank you instead for the minutes and effort Prince has given this season at age 35.

We'll see if Sam Mitchell starts LaVine at shooting guard and Andrew Wiggins at small forward or start Shabazz Muhammad in Prince's place. That Muhammad-for-Prince substitution is one a lot of Wolves fans have wanted anyway.

(UPDATE, 6:12 pm: The Wolves will start LaVIne beside Ricky Rubio in the frontcourt and move Wiggins to Prince's small-forward spot. Mitchell said they gave Prince permission to go to Detroit because he has done everything they've asked him to do this season and because it allows the chance to see LaVine in a starting role and presumably affords Muhammad more minutes.)

Prince's absence will leave the Wolves tonight without hium, Kevin Garnett, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin against a Raptors team that won 11 consecutive games in January and is second in the Eastern Conference.

After this, the Raptors head home for break and the All-Star Game held in their hometown.

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will start for the East in Sunday's main event and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan was chosen by NBA coaches as a reserve.

"It means a lot, to have two guys in the same city be All Stars," DeRozan said. "I mean, words can't explain it. I probably need to be asked that this Sunday to get the feeling of it and see how it goes. Something like is something for the history books that you'll never forget. Hopefully we can inspire some young kid from Toronto to do the same thing we did."

More minutes for Towns, Dieng put Wolves on two-game winning streak

After he carefully measured his big men's minutes this season, Timberwolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell called upon both Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng to play 41 minutes or more in Saturday's comeback victory over Chicago.

They did so because Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic remain sidelined and Nemanja Bjelica and Adreian Payne remain out of the playing rotation.

With two games to go before a nine-day All Star break and his team on a two-game winning streak, can he keep doing that?

"We're going to find out, aren't we?" Mitchell said. "They've got seven days to rest. We're going to find out. That is a concern, but those two have been playing so well together."

The Wolves play Anthony Davis and New Orleans tonight and Toronto on Wednesday, both at Target Center.

Nine days after they combined for 52 points and 27 rebounds in a game at Utah, Towns and Dieng together had 50 points and 30 rebounds against the Bulls.

After keeping Towns minutes to 30 or fewer many nights this season, Mitchell played him a season-high amount on Saturday, one more minute than Towns played in a Dec. 26 game against Indiana.

Towns played in a platoon system his one year at Kentucky, so he's used to measured minutes.

But this...?

"It was different, definitely different," he said. "I hadn't played 40 minutes in my whole entire career. It was cool, something new to get used to."

Towns said he could feel the difference the next day. "It's OK, it's something new to me," he said. "Next time, it won't feel like that. It'll feel like something I'm already accustomed to."

Dieng said he felt no effects Sunday after playing 41:29 on Saturday.

"I'm good," Dieng said. "I didn't play a lot of minutes starting the season. If I have a chance to play now, I'm just going to lock in and play."

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  • Wild at Edmonton

    8 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Memphis

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  • Wisconsin at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm

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