Kurt Helin

Watch Zach LaVine drop 30 in preseason game

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When we talk about the offensive threats in Minnesota, the conversation quickly turns to Karl-Anthony Towns, followed by Andrew Wiggins. With good reason, that one-two punch could have the Timberwolves as contenders in a few years.

But they have other guys who can put up points.

Zach LaVine reminded everyone his game has grown and he can do more than just dunk, dropping 30 on the Hornets in a preseason game. LaVine was 13-of-20 from the field and 4-of-6 from three.

Kevin Durant talks of watching Game 7 of Finals, dreaming of playing in Warriors system


It’s not this simple, except on some level it is:

Kevin Durant watched the Warriors play and thought their system looked like fun. Like something he wanted to be a part of.

In response to a question, Durant said Monday he watched Game 7 of the NBA Finals — a loss by the Warriors to the Cavaliers, giving Cleveland the title — and told his agent playing for Golden State he’d like to play for them. Via Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News.

With Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder made the fewest passes of any team in the NBA last season — and they had the second best offense in the NBA. With fantastic shot-creating talents like Westbrook and Durant they played to their strengths. The lack of passing was in part due to them initiating their offense late in the clock more than most teams, but with talents like Westbrook and Durant it didn’t matter. It worked.

It was just not the style Durant wanted.

Watch Brandon Jennings put on show for Knicks fans in preseason game


Derrick Rose is in Los Angeles because of his rape trial, and that opened the door for Brandon Jennings to start for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

And he was fun, playing with a little flair on his way to 11 points in the Knicks’ 90-88 win over the Wizards. He had the crowd on its feet a few times.

The night was an encapsulation of what Jennings has been since returning from a ruptured Achilles — he’s still got the handles and athleticism, but he’s just not an efficient shooter. It took 12 shots to get those 11 points, plus he had one assist in 26 minutes of play.

Jennings is going to get his chances this season playing behind Rose. Jennings bet on himself inking a one-year, 45 million deal, believing he can play himself into a bigger contract next season. We shall see. But if he keeps playing like this the fans will love him.

Heat conduct scrimmage, raising money for cancer research

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) The second half of the annual Miami Heat scrimmage was delayed a bit Monday night, because Hassan Whiteside was too busy taking selfies with fans on the court.

No one complained, either.

The scrimmage serves two purposes for the Heat – it’s a chance for fans to see what amounts to a glorified practice, and more importantly it gives the team a chance to pay tribute to breast cancer survivors, who come down to the court at halftime for plenty of hugs and photos.

“This shines an incredible light and we love it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It really is a touching moment.”

About 30 women, most of them somehow adorned in breast-cancer-awareness-color of pink, took part in the halftime ceremony. In the stands, hundreds of others wore pink and the Heat uniforms for the night were all adorned with pink names and numbers.

A few players, including Tyler Johnson and Udonis Haslem, even donned pink sneakers.

“It’s very special for me, obviously,” said Haslem, the Heat captain. “My mom passed away from cancer. … I’m not a man of pink, but I will wear pink tonight to show support.”

Ticket proceeds benefitted the Miami Cancer Institute.

“It’s something that we all pretty much have been touched by,” Heat forward Justise Winslow said. “Whether it’s a friend, a team mom, an aunt, a cousin, anything, we’ve all been affected by it. We can all see their hearts out there, and so we try to give them a little bit of our time and our heart.”

The night was also an unofficial introduction to a very new team.

Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Gerald Green and Amare Stoudemire are among the biggest departures from last season, and Chris Bosh – who failed his physical and wasn’t cleared to resume basketball activities after his last two seasons ended early because of blood clots – is no longer in the team’s plans but remains under contract.

“We have an exciting group for you,” Spoelstra told the crowd. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Heat play host to Brooklyn in a preseason game on Tuesday night.

Utah starts Joe Johnson at small forward with Gordon Hayward out

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Who plays where during an NBA preseason game usually matters as much as a Family Guy cutaway, but there was an interesting one Monday night:

What would the Jazz do with Gordon Hayward out? Go with the veteran.

This is not a lock for the regular season, but it also makes the most sense. Joe Johnson gets the start with Chris Johnson and Alec Burks (in small ball lineups) behind him. It’s Utah’s best option.

It’s also a step down. None of those guys are the shot creators and threat that Hayward has become. The Jazz added depth at point guard with George Hill (plus getting Dante Exum back from injury), plus adding veterans like Boris Diaw to the lineup. But it’s going to take a lot more to make up for Hayward, who was the best shot creator on the team.