Mike Conley

Mavs Notes: Luka, Kyrie, Game 1 Takeaways, X-Factors

The Mavericks were victorious in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday behind 63 combined points from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. It marked the first Game 1 win of the postseason for Dallas, which was playing on the road in Minnesota.

We had to work really hard to get this one,” Doncic said, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “It’s big time. We know how tough it is to play in this place, especially against a team that has so many weapons, so it’s big-time to take this one. But it’s only one. We got three more to go.”

As Sam Amick of The Athletic writes, Irving was scorching hot in the first half, scoring 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting while being hounded by Anthony Edwards. It’s the latest example of Irving’s “basketball renaissance,” according to Amick, who points out that the 31-year-old has become a leader for the Mavericks and a key voice in the ear of Doncic.

At times when he reacted to turnovers (in Game 1), or passes that didn’t convert to baskets for us, I was just reminding him to keep his head up and realize where we are, the magnitude of this,” Irving said of Doncic. “A lot of guys look to him for emotional stability, and emotional strength. We know he’s one of the best scorers of all time… and he’s going out there and not necessarily playing well offensively in the first half.

(But) I know in the second half, he’s gonna be aggressive. We’ve been able to figure out that one-two punch of just playing the point guard role, playing that main scorer’s role and just not lacking in other areas in the basketball game. He can do other things, and I can do other things other than scoring. So when it’s his time to score, it’s my time to play defense and get up in a guy and contest shots and continue to do the little things that get us wins.”

Doncic was sensational closing the game, scoring 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter while making key defensive plays. He praised Irving’s first-half effort for keeping Dallas afloat, according to Sefko.

That was big time,” Doncic said of Irving. “We probably would have been down 20 if he hadn’t scored that many points. I appreciate him keeping us in the game.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • The Timberwolves largely chose to stay at home on shooters in Game 1, limiting Dallas to just 6-of-25 (24.0%) from long distance, writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. Minnesota, by contrast, was 18-of-49 (36.7%) from deep. Being minus-36 points from three is typically a recipe for disaster, but the Mavs found success in the paint (62-38) and on the boards (48-40), showing the team’s ability to adapt, Cato notes. “We’re going to take whatever you give us,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “We want to promote 3s, but if you take the 3s away when you have that many points in the paint against the No. 1 team defensively, we’ll take it if that’s what you’re going to give us. I thought the group pivoted nicely by understanding what was available on the floor by (Minnesota) taking away the 3s.”
  • Jon Krawczynski, Zach Harper, Tim Cato and Tobias Bass of The Athletic provide their takeaways from Game 1. Game 2 tips off at 7:30 pm CT on Thursday.
  • ESPN insiders Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst list the role players they believe could be the X-factors for the rest of the series. MacMahon chose Mavs forward P.J. Washington, while McMenamin took Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels and Windhorst selected Wolves point guard Mike Conley.

Western Notes: Conley, Wolves, Mavs, Suns, Billups, Warriors

The calf/Achilles issue that sidelined Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals hasn’t gone away — he’s listed as questionable for Game 1 of the Western finals. Conley will play on Wednesday, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), but the team will keep a close eye on that injury going forward.

“It honestly depends on if you can get through the game without having any small setback,” Conley said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “You have some movements that really kind of jar it or cause the pain to go up really quickly and kind of stays there for a little while. Some games I get through the whole game and you don’t have any setback and so you just kind of keep building upward and forward. So I’m just trying to stack as many of those days together as I can.”

Keeping Conley healthy will be crucial for the Wolves as they look to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. In the series vs. Denver, the team had a +13.6 net rating in the 196 minutes he played, compared to a -6.7 mark in the 140 minutes he wasn’t on the floor.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

Nuggets Notes: Game 7, Jokic, Murray, Braun, Offseason

The defending-champion Nuggets were eliminated from the postseason in extraordinary fashion by the Timberwolves in Sunday night’s Game 7, blowing a 20-point third-quarter lead at home, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. According to Youngmisuk, it was the largest Game 7 blown lead in the past 25 years.

Perhaps all the more stunning is the fact that Denver is known for having one of the best home court advantages in the league, going 33-8 in the regular season and only dropping one playoff home game during its championship campaign in 2022/23. In the first round, the Nuggets went 3-0 vs. the Lakers at home. Yet in the semifinal, they dropped three of four to Minnesota.

As Bennett Durando of The Denver Post writes, Nikola Jokic (34 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists) put up his typical huge numbers. However, the reigning Finals MVP and three-time MVP noticeably ran out of gas as the game progressed, settling for jumpers in the second half and going 13-of-28 from the floor overall, including 2-of-10 on threes (he made 6-of-7 from the line). The Serbian star rested for a total of just 84 seconds, all of which came in the first half.

Jokic was humble in defeat, praising the Wolves and specifically their roster construction. Minnesota’s front office is led by Tim Connelly, who drafted Jokic to Denver before getting a raise from the Wolves a couple years ago.

I mean, I think they’re built to beat us,” Jokic said, per Youngmisuk. “Just look at their roster. They have basically two All-Stars (Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns), two probably first-team defensive players (Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels). Mike Conley is the most underrated player in the NBA, probably.

“From the bench, they have a Sixth Man of the Year (Naz Reid). … (They are) one team that they can do literally everything. They can be big, small.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Jamal Murray, who was instrumental in last year’s Finals run but has been battling a calf strain, scored his 29th point just over a minute into the second half before adding just six the rest of the way. He finished with a game-high 35 points on a very similar line to Jokic (13-of-27, 4-of-12 on threes, 5-of-5 on free throws). Murray viewed the series differently than Jokic, believing the Nuggets were the superior team, but trying to repeat as champions took its toll. “Just mentally and physically, conjuring up the energy to fight like you’re being hunted,” Murray said. “I think that’s the emotion. When you’re the hunter, you have so much more motivation and you grasp on to anything to prove everybody wrong and you have a constant chip on your shoulder. I don’t know. … I feel like we should have won tonight. That’s the tough part. They beat us, but we had so many great opportunities, including myself, so it’s just tough, man.”
  • Second-year wing Christian Braun concurred with Murray’s assessment and said he definitely views the Wolves as a rival now after eliminating a shorthanded Minnesota in last year’s playoffs. “It sucks,” Braun said. according to Durando, “because I think we’re the better team. … I don’t like them. I think that we need more of that in the NBA. They’re a really good team. Really well-coached. Really good players. It’s a matchup that you love to play in. You don’t want to play, like, really friendly with a bunch of teams. I think it’s a really good rivalry for the NBA. I would say it is a rivalry. And that’s why this hurts more.”
  • While Jokic and Murray took responsibility, they combined to score 69 points, compared to 21 points on 8-of-28 shooting for the rest of the team, notes Youngmisuk. And the starting lineup, which has consistently been one of the best in the league the past two seasons, was minus-60 overall, per Durando.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), HoopsHype’s Mark Deeks, and cap expert Yossi Gozlan (YouTube link) preview Denver’s offseason and future salary cap situation, respectively. Starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of the team’s top defenders who shot 41.6% from deep in his two regular seasons with the Nuggets, could be their top free agent — he holds a $15.4MM player option and would likely get a raise on the open market. The Nuggets have one of the league’s more expensive rosters, so re-signing the 31-year-old might not be a lock.
  • Murray reiterated his desire to play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Paris this summer, per Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post. However, Jokic was noncommittal about the possibility of suiting up for the Serbia. “I don’t know, my friend, we will see,” he said. “I need to think about it.”
  • Head coach Michael Malone was clearly frustrated after the series and defended his actions and team, calling it a temporary setback, per Youngmisuk. “This is just a momentary delay,” Malone said. “It’s a failure, it’s not fatal. We’ll be back. The better team won, so I’m taking nothing away from Minnesota … but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They’re dead tired. They gave me everything I could ever ask for, and that’s why as much as this hurts, I’ll walk out of this building tonight with my head held very high.”

Wolves Notes: Conley, Finch, Towns, Edwards

Mike Conley will have a chance to make a new Game 7 memory on Sunday, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. The Timberwolves‘ veteran point guard is still bothered by how the series ended when he and Rudy Gobert faced the Nuggets as members of the Jazz in a 2020 seventh game in the Orlando bubble. Conley had an opportunity to give Utah a dramatic victory, but his three-point shot at the buzzer misfired.

“I’ve replayed it a lot,” he said. “Having that opportunity to win a Game 7 like that and not be able to make the shot was tough. Now here we are in a similar situation, where we get to play the same team, a lot of the same guys. So for me, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Hopefully this will turn out different.”

Conley plans to be ready despite being listed as questionable with a right soleus strain that kept him out of Game 5. He was able to return for Thursday’s contest and said he feels better now than he did that night. He wants to be on the court so he can put to rest the bad memories from four years ago.

“It’s hard to escape it,” Conley said. “You find that clip every now and then. Sometimes it comes across the phone. I don’t actively search it — I don’t want to bring up that memory too much. But at the same time, it’s something that I’ve thought about at workouts and I think about if I’m having a tough day in a workout missing a certain shot. I’m like, ‘Nah, I got to make this because I might be in this situation again.'”

There’s more on the Wolves:

  • Injured head coach Chris Finch said he and lead assistant Micah Nori have developed an effective system as the series has worn on, Hine adds in the same piece. Finch can’t roam the sidelines after suffering a ruptured patella tendon in the first round, so he and Nori have to be selective about when they communicate. “Couple games ago, he was looking at me or to me a lot,” Finch said. “I just said, you can’t do that, we’re losing some possessions maybe here and there. Just trust your gut. He’s got 30 years of experience. So use it.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns only scored 10 points in Game 6, but he sparked Minnesota’s blowout by doing all the things his critics say he can’t do, observes Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. Towns served as the primary defender against Nikola Jokic, grabbed seven rebounds by the end of the first quarter and made the right passes in the offense.
  • Teammates raved about Anthony Edwards‘ maturation int0 a leader after Game 6, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. As the Wolves pulled away, Edwards implored the team to avoid any letdown that would allow Denver to get back into the game. “Just the way he’s grown from, I always say my second year, his rookie year, just from the way he’s grown as a basketball player and that person,” Naz Reid said. “It’s completely night and day.”

Wolves Notes: Conley, Edwards, Towns, McDaniels

Facing elimination on Thursday, the Timberwolves turned in arguably the most dominant performance of any team this postseason, holding the Nuggets to 70 points on the night and going on separate 20-0, 13-0, and 24-0 runs en route to a 45-point victory. What was the difference for Minnesota? According to Anthony Edwards, the answer was simple, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“We got Mike Conley back,” Edwards said of his backcourt mate, who missed Game 5 due to a right soleus strain. “That was it.”

It’s a little reductive to give Conley full credit for the Wolves’ incredible performance. After all, he was also on the floor for the team’s home losses in Games 3 and 4. But Minnesota’s players and coaches have spoken all season about the outsized impact the veteran point guard – who was the team’s fifth-leading scorer during the season – has on the Wolves.

“Mike means everything for us,” head coach Chris Finch said after Game 6. “Unbelievable next to Anthony in terms of being able to set him up, play off of him, be in his ear all of the time. Smart defender. Just everything you want in an experienced, veteran point guard and just the very fact that Ant doesn’t have to handle it every single time, that alone helps us. … We desperately missed him the other night.”

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • As Sam Amick of The Athletic details, several Timberwolves players credited a video the coaching staff showed prior to Game 6 for helping the club regain its swagger and get in the right head space heading into Thursday’s contest. “Normally we have a (film) edit, just with certain offensive possessions This edit was more of a production, one of those that show all the big dunks and highlights and the ball movement and with music behind it,” Conley said. “It was a surprise. We’ll usually see the defensive stuff and offensive stuff, but this time they plugged it up to the big speaker. We normally don’t have anything plugged into the big speakers, just the (film) and coach will be talking over it. But this was more of a change-our-mentality sort of thing.” Edwards told reporters that the team’s “energy shifted” after watching the hype video, while Karl-Anthony Towns said it reminded the Wolves of the “discipline, the execution, (and) the tenacity” that they’d been lacking in their losses.
  • Edwards – who said on Thursday that he wants to be “the best player on both sides of the ball in the NBA,” per McMenamin – was the primary defender on Jamal Murray in Game 6. It was a miserable night for the Nuggets guard, who scored just 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting, though Murray suggested after the loss that a right elbow injury he suffered early in the game was more to blame for his off night. “I put some numbing cream on it just so I didn’t have to feel it every time it extended,” Murray said, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “… We got two days off. I just got to get ready and be able to be better for Sunday. Yeah, (it’s got) to be better for Sunday, man.”
  • Towns scored a playoff-low 10 points on Thursday, but his fingerprints were “all over” Minnesota’s Game 6 win, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic contends. Towns grabbed 13 rebounds, handed out five assists, only turned the ball over once, and – perhaps most crucially – stayed out of foul trouble while defending Nikola Jokic. “I told him today, ‘We’re thankful that you didn’t foul because if you foul we lose,'” Edwards said. “Because you are the best matchup we’ve got for Jokic. Like, you do the best job on him.”
  • After making just 2-of-12 three-pointers and scoring a total of 35 points in the first five games of the series, Jaden McDaniels hit 3-of-5 threes and scored 21 points on Thursday. Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune takes a closer look at the impact that the Wolves’ “X-factor” had in the victory.

Mike Conley Officially Available For Must-Win Game 6

Starting Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley has been officially given the green light to play in a critical Game 6 of Minnesota’s second round matchup against the Nuggets on Thursday night, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (via Twitter).

Head coach Chris Finch revealed the news pregame, Hine reports. The former All-Star sat out Game 5 of the ongoing Western Conference second round playoff series with a right soleus strain, and had been previously listed as questionable for Game 6.

“He’s in,” Finch said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

Conley has served as something of a coach on the floor for the Timberwolves, who started off the series with two stunning road victories against the defending champs in Denver. The Nuggets, propelled by three-time MVP Nikola Jokic, roared back, winning the last three games of the series — they hold a 3-2 edge. The Timberwolves will at least be playing on their home court for Thursday’s must-win bout.

Through his eight healthy playoff games so far, the 36-year-old Conley is averaging 11.3 points (on .400/.375/.846 shooting), 7.0 assists, 3.8 boards, and 1.1 swipes per night.

Wolves Notes: Conley, Confidence, Maturity, Jokic, Gobert, NAW

Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley was ruled out for Tuesday’s Game 5 with a right soleus strain and is officially questionable for tonight’s Game 6. However, the 36-year-old plans to suit up, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter).

After Game 5, head coach Chris Finch said the team was optimistic Conley could return for Game 6, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “We’re hopeful Mike can go in Game 6,” Finch said. “That was one of the reasons to be cautious with him right here, feeling that he could go [on Thursday].”

Conley’s leadership and steady hand in the backcourt have buoyed Minnesota throughout the team’s 56-win season, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The 36-year-old also understands his window of opportunity is shrinking, and the same may be true of the Wolves in the series.

I’m one of those people, I don’t want to learn through losing,” Conley said. “I don’t want to learn by letting a team win a couple games in a series to make us change some things. Why don’t we, in games, figure this out? We’re good enough to do this. I don’t have time for it, y’all don’t have time for it.”

Conley, who signed a two-year extension during the season, played 76 regular season games in ’23/24 and is the team’s top on-ball decision-maker.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Despite dropping three straight games for the first time all season, the Timberwolves remain confident as they look to stave off elimination against Denver in Thursday’s Game 6, according to McMenamin of ESPN. “Adversity has been something we’ve answered all year,” All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns said. “It’s something that if I was to go through this with anyone, I would go through it with these guys in this locker room. I have full confidence in these guys, I have full confidence in our locker room, I have confidence in our coaching staff. Everyone has been tremendous all year. It’s now time to put all that experience and that unity we’ve built throughout the whole year, even last year, and put it on the table and play our best basketball so we can give ourselves a chance to bring back Game 7 here.”
  • Star guard Anthony Edwards struggled with Denver’s extra defensive pressure in Game 5, but he said he’s looking forward to making up for it tonight in Minnesota, McMenamin adds. “Super excited,” Edwards said. “You get to compete. Get to go home and play with our backs against the wall. It should be fun.” If he’s healthy, Conley’s return should alleviate some double-team pressure from Edwards.
  • Despite their public proclamations of confidence, the Wolves haven’t dealt with adversity well the past few games, particularly from an emotional maturity standpoint, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (subscriber link). Several players have been guilty of immature moments, which has been an issue for this group the past couple seasons, Hine adds. “I mean, we got to keep our head. I think that’s the story for us,” Rudy Gobert said. “… We have to be mentally tough, individually and collectively, to be able to keep playing our game and not let anything that happened in the game affect the way we play.”
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic details how three-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who is also the reigning Finals MVP for the defending-champion Nuggets, was able to eviscerate four-time Defensive Player of the Year Gobert and Minnesota’s top-ranked defense in Game 5. The Serbian superstar was particularly lethal in the third period, recording 16 points on just seven shot attempts and recording four assists, frequently while intentionally hunting Gobert. John Hollinger of The Athletic contends that Jokic’s remarkable performance — 40 points on 15-of-22 shooting, 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block with zero turnovers — isn’t being discussed enough.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker has become an unlikely X-factor for the Wolves, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. The former first-round pick was traded three times in quick succession but has turned into a defensive stopper and a leader for Minnesota, Lopez notes.
  • Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune argues that if the Wolves are eliminated by the Nuggets, they shouldn’t blow up the big man pairing of Towns and Gobert. Souhan also says the team should replace Kyle Anderson with another three-point shooter to improve the offense, which has been the primary issue over the past three games.

Mike Conley Ruled Out For Game 5

Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley won’t play in Game 5 against the Nuggets tonight due to right Achilles soreness, the team’s PR department tweets. Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been inserted into the lineup in Conley’s place.

Conley was injured during the final minute of Game 4. He was downgraded to questionable earlier in the day and, after testing out the ailment prior to the game, it was determined that he wasn’t healthy enough to play.

The veteran point guard has averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 assists per game during the series. Alexander-Walker is averaging 6.8 PPG off the bench against Denver but had three double-digit scoring games against Phoenix in the opening round.

Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray, who was listed as questionable due to a calf injury, will play.

Wolves Notes: Conley, Edwards, Towns, McDaniels, Defense

As Sam Amick of The Athletic details, adding veteran guard Mike Conley at the 2023 trade deadline was one of the best moves the Timberwolves have made in recent years. In addition to being a perfect on-court fit for Minnesota’s playing style, Conley has served as something of a “connector” between Rudy Gobert and his teammates and has been a veteran mentor to rising star Anthony Edwards, writes Amick.

Conley, who had been on an expiring contract this season, is no longer averaging 20-plus points per game like he did earlier in his career, but he continues to play at a high level in his role, averaging 5.9 assists per game and making 44.2% of his three-pointers this season. His ability to remain productive was a factor in his decision to sign a two-year extension with the Wolves earlier this year, he tells Amick.

“Before I signed the extension, it was like, ‘Man, it could be this year, it could be next year, it could be any year,'” Conley said, referring to possible retirement. “But then as I played this year out, I was like, ‘Man, I haven’t slowed down yet, and I just can’t imagine myself leaving when I haven’t hit that bottom yet.’ So I’m just gonna burn these tires off and not put a date on it and see what happens.”

The 36-year-old said he hasn’t thought much about what the next phase of his career will look like once his playing days are over, but he envisions himself being “around this game” even after his retirement. While he’s not sure coaching is in the cards, he mentioned a front office role or a media job as a couple possibilities.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune spoke to Edwards’ longtime skills trainer and coach Kierre Jordan about the work the former No. 1 overall pick has put in to become one of the NBA’s most effective postseason scorers, while Mo Dakhil and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic broke down some game film from the first two games of the Denver series to illustrate how we’re witnessing Edwards’ development in real time.
  • Minnesota has received trade inquiries on Karl-Anthony Towns in the past year or two and could have decided to move him last offseason, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link), who hears from sources that some of the offers the Wolves got were “decent.” However, the team stuck with its star big man and he has rewarded that trust. Lowe likens Towns’ transformation in Minnesota to the way Aaron Gordon found an ideal role in Denver after being miscast as a ball-handling star in Orlando, noting that Edwards’ ascent has helped put Towns in a better position to succeed.
  • Asked by Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter video link) where he ranks himself as an NBA defender, Wolves forward Jaden McDaniels placed himself second, behind only his four-time Defensive Player of the Year teammate. “I think I’m the best defender in the NBA besides Rudy (Gobert),” McDaniels said. “We got the DPOY, so I’ll take the step back. But I feel like I’m up there with Rudy. Just the versatility — I can guard one through four, using my length on smaller guys and even bigger guys.”
  • The ferociousness of Minnesota’s defense evokes some championship teams of the past, per David Aldridge of The Athletic, who compares the Wolves’ suffocating D on Nuggets guard Jamal Murray to the way the “Bad Boy” era Pistons would guard Michael Jordan.

Timberwolves Notes: Connelly, Nori, Finch, Ownership

Timberwolves team president Tim Connelly joined the organization two years ago with a deliberate, aggressive plan in mind for returning Minnesota to contender status, writes Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune.

With core pieces Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels already all in place, Connelly opted to go for size and veteran help, ultimately rounding out his starting five with former Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley.

Now, Minnesota’s defense in all facets is helping guiding the club deep into the playoffs. The Timberwolves, the West’s No. 3 seed with a 56-26 regular season record, have won a playoff series for the first time in 20 years. Scoggins concedes that he did not appreciate just how good Conley still was when Minnesota acquired him in a February 2023 trade, while also noting that much of the league was critical of Connelly’s decision to obtain Gobert for major future draft equity.

There’s more out of Minnesota:

  • Connelly recently addressed questions about how the team will handle what could be a very pricey roster in the offseason, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (via Twitter). “I think we’re a contender now,” Connelly said. “We have to believe it. We’re entering the second round with an unblemished playoff record. This room certainly thinks we’re a contender. Relative to what the offseason looks like, it would be unfair to answer those questions prior to our conclusion and what we hope not to conclude for a long time.”
  • Connelly also had high praise for assistant coach Micah Nori, who finished out the closing minutes of team’s Game 4 win over the Suns after head coach Chris Finch left the bench due to a patellar tendon injury. Micah is gonna make a great head coach when some smart team hires him,” Connelly said, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). “The whole staff is really connected and I think Finch empowers those guys, so it’s a collective.”
  • Just one day removed from a surgery on his ruptured right knee patellar tendon, Finch was back in action on Thursday with the Timberwolves, overseeing a team practice, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Minnesota intends to have Finch available with the the team once its second round series against the Nuggets tips off in Denver on Saturday. “Finch is obviously a leader and a super tough guy,” Connelly reflected. “I have a ton of respect for him bouncing back so quickly… He’s really excited about the series and it’s great to have him back.”
  • Mediation efforts between Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez and majority owner Glen Taylor did not ultimately succeed in resolving the two sides’ ownership dispute, Darren Wolfson of KSTP Sports tweets. They’ll move on to arbitration, which Wolfson believes could happen several weeks from now.