Sundiata Gaines

Timberwolves waive Maurice Ager, eye Sundiata Gaines

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As if it weren’t hard enough to be an Minnesota Timberwolf, the Wolves’ point guards seem to have a particularly tough lot in life. Dust off jokes about Minny’s one-time glut of PGs if you must, but these days, the point man is practically endangered in Minneapolis.

Jonny Flynn is still recovering from hip surgery, Luke Ridnour is out with a strained hamstring, Martell Webster (an off-guard capable of covering ball-handling duties in a pinch) just had surgery to repair a herniated back disc, and even Wayne Ellington is out of action with a bruised thigh.

Sebastian Telfair is really the Wolves’ only ball-handler or distributor…and in yesterday’s game against the Kings he had a single assist in almost 40 minutes. Telfair is capable of holding down the fort until the team’s more capable point guards are healthy again, but the circumstances currently demand that he play entirely too many minutes. That’s no good. Telfair’s effectiveness and efficiency will dip when he’s thrust into such a high-minute, high-usage role, and the best answer for the Wolves — unless they can just pop Flynn’s hip back into place — is to get Telfair a little help.

According to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Wolves are looking to add Sundiata Gaines to back up Telfair. Minnesota has worked out a number of other prospects capable of filling in minutes at the point, but Zgoda reported that Gaines impressed the Wolves most. In order to free up a spot for Gaines, Minnesota has waived former first round pick Maurice Ager, a shooting guard who just hasn’t turned all that many heads since being drafted in 2006. Gaines is a much more natural fit for a reserve point guard, as he put up solid scoring and assist numbers for the D-League’s Idaho Stampede last season before doing well in limited minutes for the Utah Jazz. He also hit some big shot, but you probably didn’t hear about that.

Gaines doesn’t have much of a shot at playing time once Ridnour and Flynn are healthy again, but a stint with the Wolves could be a nice way to boost his NBA stock. Regardless, this is the right decision for the Wolves right now. Ager wasn’t helping much, and though Gaines is more of a stopgap than a notable addition, he makes sense for Kurt Rambis’ team right now.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine slam dunks the ball during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect. Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates:

Splash Brothers showtime: Klay Thompson beats Stephen Curry to win Three-Point Contest

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TORONTO — It came down to the Splash Brothers. Because of course it did. Just like last season.

In the final round of the NBA All-Star Saturday Three-Point Shootout, defending champ Stephen Curry hit his first eight shots and set the bar high with 23 points — the best score of the night.

His backcourt teammate Klay Thompson responded by draining his last seven shots, which included the entire money rack, and put up 27 points — tying the event record.

That gave Thompson the upset win and the Three-Point Contest title.

Although, is it an upset if the second best shooter in the game beats the best?

“It was like déjà vu last year,” Thompson said. “Not gonna lie, I got nervous when he hit his first eight, and I didn’t think he was going to miss. But it was exciting, just coming back to Oakland [with the title], you know. Back-to-back years for Splash Brothers, it’s pretty cool.”

So does Thompson have bragging rights?

“(For) about 364 days, and then — but that’s a daily thing we do,” Thompson said. “We love to shoot against each other. You know, I’ve never been on a team with someone who shoots it better than me, so it’s a privilege to work with him every day. He makes me that much better.”

The Final round was two you expected — the Splash Brothers — plus one few did, Suns rookie Devin Booker.

Getting there was not simple. In the first round, Thompson set a high bar going first and putting up 22. Curry got hot in the middle, then hit the last two money balls to reach 21. James Harden and J.J. Redick ( who stayed behind the line this year) scored very solid 20s. Later 19-year-old rookie Booker put up a 20 to tie those two veterans. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (13 points) Portland’s C.J. McCollum (14) and home-town crowd favorite Raptor Kyle Lowry (15) got bounced. .

That left Harden, Redick, and McCollum in a tiebreaker, and the rookie calmly put up a 12 in 30 seconds to advance.

Booker took a step back in the final round with a 16.

Not that it mattered with the Splash Brothers in the building.