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 Betreff des Beitrags: prompting Stevens to say
BeitragVerfasst: 20 Aug 2018, 08:22 

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves have just two regular-season games remaining Adidas Matt Murray Jersey , and it is possible they will need to win both to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

One reason occurred two weeks ago when the Memphis Grizzlies shot 47.6 percent and handed the Timberwolves a 101-93 home loss.

Minnesota hopes to atone for its sub-par showing against the Grizzlies Monday night when the teams get together at the Target Center.

Minnesota (45-35) enters the game against Memphis in the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves (45-35) have the same record as the Denver Nuggets, but Minnesota currently holds the tiebreaker, though it hosts Denver Wednesday.

Ahead of the Timberwolves are a cluster of teams all jockeying for playoff positioning. The Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are the four teams immediately ahead of Minnesota in the wild Western Conference playoff race.

Helping Minnesota’s chances in its final two games is the return of veteran Jimmy Butler, who missed 17 games with a knee injury. Butler returned to action on Friday and helped lift the Timberwolves over the Los Angeles Lakers in a much-needed road win by scoring 18 points in a 113-96 win.

On Friday, Butler scored 11 points after halftime when the Wolves outscored the Lakers by a 62-38 margin.

Minnesota struggled without its Butler on the court, especially on the defensive end. In Butler’s absence, the Wolves went 8-9, allowed 109.8 points per game, posted a 109.6 defensive rating and allowed opponents to shoot 47.4 percent from the field.

“When you play hard, just good things happen,” Butler told the Minneapolis Star Tribune after Friday’s win. “Hopefully Seahawks Dontae Johnson Jersey , everybody takes note of that and realizes how important these games are down the stretch. Now we need to go get two more.”

The first of Minnesota’s remaining two games is against a Grizzlies club with the second-worst record in the NBA. However, Memphis (22-58) held Minnesota to 41 percent shooting two weeks ago.

“I give those guys a ton of credit for battling and fighting through the ups and downs of the season,” Grizzlies interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told the Memphis Commercial Appeal after beating the Timberwolves. “Not giving in and competing.”

Memphis also posted a 95-92 home victory on Dec. 4 in Memphis. Given what’s at stake, the Timberwolves can’t afford to go 0-3 to the Grizzlies, especially since Minnesota also owns eight defeats to teams with at least 50 losses this season.

The Grizzlies are coming off a 130-117-win Sunday against Detroit when they shot a season-high 57.8 percent and also made 48.5 percent of 3-point shots.

Memphis is 4-8 since snapping a 19-game losing streak March 17 against Denver.

It’s possible Minnesota could clinch a playoff spot Monday, but it would need some help. The Timberwolves would first have to win. They would also need San Antonio to beat Sacramento and would need Denver to lose to Portland.

If all three of those don’t happen Monday, that makes Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Denver even more crucial.

“Last time I had two games that mattered a lot, it didn’t end well,” Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns told the Star Tribune, referring to his only season of college basketball at Kentucky when he lost to Wisconsin in the national semifinals three years ago. “Let’s hope this one goes right.”

BOSTON — Home Sweet Home.

The words the Celtics have lived by in this year’s NBA playoffs.

Now Boston has the value of the parquet, the banners and the wild home fans with the Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers down to a best-of-three.

The Celtics have gone 9-0 at home in these playoffs and won 10 in a row at home dating back to the regular season. For the year, they are 36-14 at home, a .720 winning percentage.

Just as they had done in the opening series with the Milwaukee Bucks Davante Adams Packers Jersey , the Celtics won the first two games at home and then lost two in a row on the road, where they have just one victory in the playoffs. They then won 5 and 7 at home and lost 6 at Milwaukee.

And just like that series, Boston doesn’t have to win a road game to advance.

“I think our focus is just on the next game, on Game 5,” the Celtics’ Al Horford said after Monday’s game. “All season but specifically all playoffs, we’ve been taking it game to game. We can’t look at it that way (of trying to win two of three). Right now, we’re fighting for our playoff lives, and our focus as a group is Wednesday, Game 5 at home.”

LeBron James went off for 44 points in Game 4 and had help from his friends — Tristan Thompson standing out on the inside (and running the floor) and Kyle Korver on the outside, and even blocking three Jaylen Brown shots. George Hill was great.

But, as usual, it all came down to James — and his team’s ability to set him up in mismatches, notably with smaller guard Terry Rozier.

“If you look at the four teams in the postseason now ,” said James, averaging 33.7 points per game in this postseason, “Houston is trying to find mismatches, Golden State is trying to find mismatches, Boston, and us as well. We’re all trying to find mismatches for us to try to be successful offensively. It’s not much of a secret.”

The Cavs have a win in four games at TD Garden this year and are 9-5 there over the past four seasons.

“It’s the best two out of three to go to the NBA Finals,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Celtics were hardly thrilled with the officiating in the two games in Cleveland and were outspoken about it.

“I don’t really want to speak on that and get a fine,” said Marcus Morris, one of the guys trying to guard James. “At the end of the day I work hard, work my (butt) off to defend this position. The ticky-tack fouls — it is what it is.

“It’s tough. you’re already playing against the best player in the league, and you can be a little bit physical, it’s tough to guard him. You can’t do anything and it’s fouls, fouls. We almost had to give up baskets.”

Morris leads the NBA with 52 fouls in this postseason.

In off-court news Tuesday Marshall Newhouse Color Rush Jersey , Boston’s Jayson Tatum became the first Celtic to make All-Rookie first team since Paul Pierce in 1998-99. And while Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell were unanimous, Tatum missed by a single vote, prompting Stevens to say, “Somebody made a mistake.”

Both Kevin Love and Jeff Green are playing with minor injuries, while the Celtics, missing Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis for the entire postseason, are also without backup point guard Shane Larkin. Out with a shoulder injury suffered in the second round, Larkin might return in this series, but is not likely to make it back for Game 5.

Game 6 is in Cleveland on Friday night and the “if necessary” Game 7 would be back in Boston on Sunday night.

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