Northwest Notes: Reid, Towns, Conley, Lillard, Samanic

Naz Reid is a perfect component in the free-wheeling offense that Timberwolves coach Chris Finch prefers, and his absence was evident in Friday’s loss to the Lakers, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Reid is expected to undergo surgery and miss six weeks after fracturing his left wrist this week.

Finch said the offense lacked “flow” without Reid, who had averaged 18.1 PPG over his last eight games. The team missed Reid’s quick decision-making, Hine notes, and shot just 32% from the field in the second half as it dropped an important game to a rival in the Western Conference playoff race.

The loss of Reid comes while Minnesota is still adjusting to Karl-Anthony Towns, who returned to action 10 days ago. Finch believes the Wolves may be trying to force the ball to Towns too often, and Mike Conley has been working individually with Towns to find the best way to integrate him into the offense.

“Having him back in the mix and him implementing into what we’re already doing is, I wouldn’t say challenging, but it’s the obstacle that we’re trying to (overcome),” Conley said. “How can we get us to space the floor properly. How can we cut? What plays? Plays change when you bring a guy like KAT in. Stuff that we run for him now as opposed to we weren’t running those plays before, so it’s just finding the balance.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Conley talks about the challenges he faced after being traded in midseason for the first time in his career. Although Conley has stabilized the Timberwolves since being acquired from the Jazz in February, he rarely gets to see his wife and three young sons, who are still living in Utah.
  • Appearing Friday on the Dan Patrick Show (video link), Damian Lillard said the Trail Blazers made the choice to shut him down for the rest of the season (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). “I wouldn’t say it’s my decision at all,” said Lillard, who appeared in 58 games this season. “I think maybe the team protecting me from myself. … Every time that I’ve had some type injury like that kind of get irritated or aggravated or something like that, it’s come from just like a heavy load, and stress, and just, you know, going out there and trying to go above and beyond. So, you know, I would say just; there is something there, and also them just trying to protect me from myself as well.” Lillard also reiterated his loyalty to the organization, saying he’s still determined to bring a title to Portland.
  • Luka Samanic is grateful to get another shot at the NBA with the Jazz, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Before signing a 10-day contract with Utah, the former first-round pick hadn’t appeared in an NBA game since the Spurs waived him before the start of last season.
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