Drake seized the opportunity to, well, be Drake.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tom Thibodeau is coming to the Minnesota Timberwolves with more influence than he’s ever had. But he says the dual roles of president of basketball operations and coach do not make him the czar in Minnesota.
Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden held their introductory press conference on Tuesday. And Thibodeau, the former Chicago coach, says the power structure is “about alignment. It’s not about power.”
Thibodeau and Layden envision a collaboration similar to what Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford have in San Antonio to help take the Timberwolves from a team that has missed the playoffs for 12 straight years and make them into a contender in the Western Conference.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor says he brought in Thibodeau and Layden because he saw the opportunity to build a championship contender over the long haul.
Jason Terry famously had the Larry O’Brien Trophy, given to the NBA champion, tattooed on his bicep before the 2010-11 season – and he won a title that year with the Mavericks, who upset the heavily favorite Heat.
Now, Terry – whose Rockets trail the Warriors 3-1 – is making another bold proclamation before Game 5.
Will they win?
“I’m guaranteeing it,” said 38-year old Jason Terry. “If I don’t, then what? It’s a loss, right. I guarantee victory that’s what it’s going to take. I believe in my group, I know we can get a win here and send this thing back to Houston.”
Terry even went so far as to say he’ll get a tattoo of the Larry O’ Brien trophy if the Rockets win the title.
Terry got a Celtics championship tattoo before his season with Boston and said he’d get a Nets version before his season with Brooklyn (though I’m not sure he followed through). But he’s waiting until Houston wins the title before getting a Rockets tattoo?
That should tell you everything you need to draw a line between Terry’s true confidence and his bluster.
Thriving? That ship has long sailed.
In jeopardy of losing in the first round as the higher seed for the third straight year, the Raptors are about just surviving.
Tuesday, they did.
Toronto withstood a few extra gut-wrenching moments after Solomon Hill made a shot from beyond the arc at the buzzer, but the Raptors got what they badly needed – a 102-99 win over the Pacers on Wednesday to take a 3-2 series lead – when officials ruled Hill’s attempt came late.
Teams leading a best-of-seven series 3-2 have won 85% of the time, but Toronto can’t feel comfortable. The Raptors were on the wrong end of a 3-2 comeback two years ago, when they dropped Games 6 and 7 to the Nets.
Could Indiana repeat history? It didn’t appear so late Wednesday.
The Pacers suffered a fourth-quarter meltdown worthy of Toronto, ceding most of a 23-2 Raptors run. Norman Powell (10 points, two steals, +16) hounded Paul George, who’d terrorized Toronto most of the night. Bismack Biyombo (10 points, 16 rebounds, +10) protected the paint. The Raptors, who trailed by 17, turned defense into offense at an expert level.
But George (39 points on 11-of-19 shooting, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block) remains the best player in this series. DeRozan (34 points on 10-of-22 shooting) got going only once George rested to begin the second quarter, and Kyle Lowry (3-for-11) continued to struggle. Toronto’s stars haven’t come close to keeping up with George.
The Raptors won because their role players answered the call, and the Pacers’ – namely Rodney Stuckey (1-for-10, three turnovers), Ty Lawson (one point, no assists, –18) and C.J. Miles (2-for-8, –19) – didn’t.
That’s a dangerous way to play.
But, at this point, the Raptors will claw out a win however they can.
With the Pacers down three in the final seconds, Paul George – who has dominated the Raptors – had a chance for a game-tying 3-pointer. Instead, he passed to Solomon Hill, who sunk a 3 on Indiana’s previous possession.
Hill made the shot – but released the ball just a fraction of a second too late.
That allowed Toronto, which trailed by 17, to hold on for the 102-99 Game 5 win and take a 3-2 series lead.
video via Kenny Ducey of Sports Illustrated