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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

Wolves' hot starts continually soured by blown leads

The Timberwolves burst out to an early lead Tuesday night against San Antonio. Zach LaVine scored 13 and Karl-Anthony Towns added seven first-half points to help build a 46-43 halftime advantage.

An early surge has become part of the team’s early identity this season. The only problem, this identity has developed a knack for blowing leads the way the Wolves did again Tuesday.

The Wolves surrendered the lead minutes into the third quarter and eventually lost 105-91 for their sixth loss after blowing a halftime lead. If you include blown first-quarter leads, the Wolves have lost nine games in which they built an early edge.

Five times the Wolves have blown leads of at least 14 points and Tuesday night blew a 10-point first-quarter lead.

Surprisingly, in two of the Wolves’ four wins, they trailed at halftime.  

“The way we're losing, not getting blown out but making mental errors late in the game, it hurt us,” Karl-Anthony Towns said leading up to Tuesday’s game. “It hurts me.”

Here is a look at the blown leads:
Oct. 26: Led 59-50 at halftime, lost 102-98 to Memphis. The Wolves were outscored 26-16 in the third quarter.
Oct. 29: Led 65-54 at halftime, lost 106-103 to Sacramento. The Wolves were outscored 31-12 in the third quarter.
Nov. 3: Led 61-55 at halftime, lost 102-99 to Denver. The Wolves were outscored 33-14 in the third quarter.
Nov. 15: Led 58-46 at halftime, lost 115-108 to Charlotte. The Wolves were outscored 36-17 in the third quarter.
Nov. 21: Led 52-42 at halftime, lost 99-93 to Boston. The Wolves were outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter.
Nov. 26: Led 33-30 after first quarter, lost 115-102 to Golden State. The Wolves were outscored 26-15 in the second quarter.
Nov. 28: Led 27-22 after first quarter, lost 112-103 to Utah. The Wolves were outscored 28-18 in the second quarter.
Nov. 30: Led 31-28 after first quarter, lost 106-104 to New York. The Wolves were outscored 30-18 in the second quarter.
Dec. 6: Led 46-43 at halftime, lost 105-91 to San Antonio. The Wolves were outscored 29-18 in the third quarter.

Blown leads of at least 14 points:
Oct. 26: Led Memphis by 17 in the first quarter 20-3, lost 102-98.
Oct. 29: Led Sacramento by 18 in the second quarter 45-27, lost 106-103.
Nov. 3: Led Denver by 15 in the first quarter 35-20, lost 102-99.
Nov. 15: Led Charlotte by 14 in the second quarter 58-44, lost 115-108.
Nov. 21: Led Boston by 15 in the third quarter 81-66, lost 99-93. 

Tarkenton rips athletes who won't go to Trump's White House, gets fact wrong

Last week, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Iman Shumpert said he wouldn't go to the White House if his team wins another NBA title and gets invited by President-elect Trump. We're going to stay away from the original post, from the website Complex, because some of the language in the interview is NSFW (or youngsters).

In a recap of the interview on, Shumpert was asked if he'd go and simply said: "I'm not going to the White House."

That set off Fran Tarkenton, the Vikings' Hall of Fame quarterback turned businessman and Trump supporter. In an interview with TMZ, Tarkenton said: "If a President of the United States, our No.1 guy, invites you to the [White House] and you're gonna boycott it? Because why? It's stupid."

And Tarkenton added: "Nobody boycotted Obama because he's black did they? No. They all went there because he was our president."

Shumpert cited "racial, sexist [expletive] he's got going on," which Tarkenton turned into a black president/white president issue.

Tarkenton was wrong to say that "everyone went" to the White House when they were invited by President Obama. Among those who refused to accept was former Vikings center Matt Birk, who didn't join his Baltimore Ravens teammates after they won the 2012 Super Bowl. Birk cited disagreements with Obama over abortion and Planned Parenthood funding as his reason for declining.

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas didn't go when Obama honored the team for winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, citing his political beliefs.

Four of the 12 NASCAR drivers invited in 2011 after qualifying for the season-ending Chase competition turned down their invitations, citing "scheduling conflicts," according to this Associated Press report.

Asked what his conflict was, driver Kevin Harvick said: "I don't think that is anyone's business. It is just a bad week for us."

NASCAR took a public relations hit for the poor attendance and, two years later, all 12 drivers who qualified for The Chase at the end of the NASCAR schedule came to the White House when invited.

"Everybody learned a good lesson to be here this year," said driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the time.

Tarkenton's take doesn't quite qualify as fake news as much as a rant where he scrambled the facts.

Here's the video.

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