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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

Towns or Anthony Davis: Will one be the next face of the NBA?

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis reminded the NBA Wednesday night why they’re the future megastars of the game. Towns scored 14 points in the first quarter of the Timberwolves season opener against Memphis. Davis scored 16 in the first quarter for New Orleans.

Davis won the night by a landslide with 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks in the Pelicans’ 107-102 loss to Denver.  Towns struggled after the first quarter and added just five more points to finish with 21. He had more assists (five) than rebounds (four) and had one steal and one assist in the Timberwolves' 102-98 loss to Memphis.

The national debate Thursday morning was about which of these two stars will one day take over for LeBron James as the face of the league? One vote went to Towns.

“When you say who is going to be the best in two or three years, who’s going to eventually take over for LeBron, I like Karl-Anthony Towns,” ESPN’s Max Kellerman said Thursday on his show “First Take.

Davis’ ability to shoot the three-pointer and remain healthy gave him the edge over Davis.

“Not only did [Towns] come into the league shooting the three better than Anthony Davis, but given his injury history so far, knock on wood you hope everyone stays healthy, I think he’s a safer bet,” Kellerman said. “Anthony Davis has yet to show he can really stay healthy all season.”

Kellerman reminded viewers the NBA is a point guard league and for that reason Stephen A. Smith expects Davis to take over for James.

“Apologies to everyone including Karl-Anthony Towns," Kellerman added, "but what Anthony Davis can do, no one can really approximate."

Smith said “which is why it would take Anthony Davis ahead of [Towns]. And I love Karl-Anthony Towns … [he’s] big time. But Anthony Davis is special. He’s a big man that can play like a guard. He can be formidable at both positions. He can be formidable in the back court, he can be formidable in the front court. It doesn’t matter. He’s a matchup nightmare and he has significant prowess defensively.”

Both are University of Kentucky products and former No. 1 draft picks, but Towns won Rookie of the Year while Davis finished second in ROY voting in 2013. Towns (1,503) scored more points than Davis (1,481) last year, while Davis (24.3) averaged more points per game than Towns (18.3).

Who do you think will eventually take over for James? For now, James has proven he still has a lot left in the tank. He had a triple-double with 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds in Cleveland's season-opening victory Tuesday night. 

The Game 7 World Series fake-out 25 years ago today

There's nothing wrong with the conventional wisdom: Jack Morris pitched 10 amazing innings in game 7 of the 1991 World Series, which was played 25 years ago today, and the Twins scored on Gene Larkin's bases-loaded single to beat Atlanta 1-0.

But without a sneaky play by Twins middle infielders Chuck Knoblauch and Greg Gagne, Morris doesn't get out of the eighth inning without allowing a run.

Here's what happened. Lonnie Smith led off the top of the eighth with a line drive single to right field. But Smith, one of the faster runners in baseball at the time, only got to third base when Terry Pendleton smashed a double that bounced to the wall in left-center. Jack Buck, the play-by-play announcer, quickly pointed out the "terrible" base running by Smith on the play.

Then he showed what happened. Watch:

Smith never picked up the ball, and he was apparently duped by a fake by Knoblauch, who pretended to field the ground ball, and Gagne, who went to cover second and pretended to catch a throw. Smith slowed down and, as a result was only able to make it to third.

"Never trust the infielders," analyst Tim McCarver said.

But there's more. Morris gave David Justice an intentional walk to load the bases with one out and Sid Bream followed with this:

And that set up Gene Larkin's game-winning hit in the 10th:

And, finally, if you're up for some reading, here's the story that appeared on Page 1 of the Star Tribune on October 28, 1991 -- the morning after Game 7. (Back then, you had to wait until the next morning to read this stuff.)

TV Listings

Local Schedule

  • Wild at Buffalo

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers men's hockey at Clarkson

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers football at Illinois

    11 am on BTN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers men's hockey at St. Lawrence

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • New York at Minnesota United FC

    7 pm on Ch. 29

  • Dallas at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Sacramento

    9:30 pm on FSN/NBATV, 830-AM

  • Vikings at Chicago

    7:30 pm on ESPN, 100.3/1130

  • Memphis at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Buffalo at Wild

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

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