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Wolves' Butler, Towns chosen as All-Star reserves

Here's another sign that the Timberwolves are traveling down the road to respectability: They've put two players in the All-Star Game for the first time since they last made the playoffs 14 years ago.

Both Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns were chosen by Western Conference coaches as two of seven reserves to play in next month's game in Los Angeles.

The West coaches also chose Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland’s Damian Lillard as well as Butler and Towns.

The official unveiling of 14 reserves from both conferences came just now  on TNT before its Tuesday night doubleheader.

This will be the fourth time Butler has been named to play in the All-Star game; he played in Chicago the first three times. This will be Towns' first time.

The only other times the Wolves have had two players in the same All-Star Game: Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell made it together in 2004, when the Wolves reached the Western Conference playoffs, and Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak made it in 2002.

The game format has changed this year: LeBron James and Stephen Curry will captain the two teams because they were the leading vote getters in fan, media and player balloting. James will pick first and the two star will draft teams, selecting first from among the game's starters named last week and then from the reserves.

Among players who didn't make it: Houston's Chris Paul, OKC's Paul George and the Clippers' Lou Williams.

Wolves announce plans to honor Saunders with special night

The Timberwolves have announced plans for a Flip Saunders Night at Target Center on Thursday, Feb. 15. That is the night the Wolves host the Los Angeles Lakers at 8 p.m.

Center to the evening will be the unveiling of a permanent banner at the Arena to honor the memory of Saunders, the former team coach and executive. There will also be a donation by the Timberwolves Fast Break Foundation to the Flip Saunders Legacy Fund. Fans who attend the game will get a Flip Saunders commemorative coin. It was a Saunders tradition during his tenure with the team to create a new team coin each season for players and front office staff, then randomly give them to people he would encounter.

Saunders had an overall record of 427-392 in 12 seasons over two stings with the Wolves. His first stint, from 1995 to 2005, including eight straight appearances in the playoffs, including a drive to the NBA’s Western Conference in the spring of 2004. He returned in 2013 as president of basketball operations, adding coaching duties starting with the 2014-15 season. Saunders was also head coach in Detroit (2005-08) and Washington Wizards (2009-11).

“Minnesota has always been our family’s home,’’ Debbie Saunders said in a release sent out by the team. “Flip not only had a passion for the Timberwolves but for basketball in the state of Minnesota. We are incredibly grateful to the Timberwolves for memorializing Flip in such a moving way and having his memory live on inside Target Center forever.’’

Final, 1/22 1 2 3 4 F
Minnesota 31-18 30 31 31 34 126
LA Clippers 23-23 26 31 33 28 118

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