Minnesota to give Brandon Roy a big role if he can handle it

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Brandon Roy is back. Although he said he never really planned to be gone all that long and the Trail Blazers just wanted to save some money. Choose to believe whatever you wish on that.

What is not in doubt is Roy’s knees were not good. As in no cartilage in his knees not good. And fancy German therapies or no, there are questions about how far back his knees will let him come now.

So what kind of role did Minnesota offer Roy to get him back? Big, he said at his introductory press conference, according to the Star Tribune.

“The explosion is still there, that quick first step,” (Timberwolves assistant Bill) Bayno said. “The big test will be over 82 games. Will the pain come back? How does the knee hold up? He’s convinced he’ll be fine….

And the Wolves offered a role as big as Roy is physically able to handle.

There are big questions to go with that big role.

If Minnesota gets the old Roy, they go from being a potential playoff team in the West to a team you want to watch. They are not ready to challenge the Thunder yet, but they would move within a couple steps of that goal. Roy at his peak, the four-time All-Star, is that good. Especially when paired with Kevin Love and once Ricky Rubio returns from knee surgery.

But that last paragraph started with if. And even a Timberwolves assistant coach had questions about longevity. Roy was one of my favorite players to watch at his peak and I’d love to see him all the way back. But he’s going to have to prove it to everyone. Even those rooting for him to succeed.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)