• Don’t look now, but Portland is one of the teams that closed fast on a Timberwolves team that has been third or fourth in the West these past several weeks. Portland won for 14th time in 19 games with Thursday’s home comeback victory over the Wolves.
The games the Blazers lost earlier in the season, they’re now winning.
• More than one Timberwolf seethed after Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague both were ejected from Friday’s loss at Utab.
But veteran Taj Gibson sounded a note of empathy for referees.
“It’s always tough,” he said. “With refs, they go through so much. They’ve got the crowd jumping on them. They’ve got the coaches. They’ve got players. At times, they’ll have a short fuse. We’ve got to be a lot smarter because we’re on the road. We’re in a hostile environment. We’re both playing for [playoff] seeding. We don’t need any of our guys thrown out for small things.”
• The Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones returned Thursday to Portland’s Moda Center, where they played against each other in the 2014 Nike Hoops Summit that four years later would have made a pretty good NBA team.
Jones played for a U.S. team that included future pros Myles Turner, Kelly Oubre, Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow. Towns played for a World team that included Nikola Jokic, Clint Capela, Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles and Emmanuel Mudiay.
The U.S. won, 84-73.
“There were a lot of pros on both sides of the floor that night,” Jones said. “The good guys won, though.”
• Timberwolves coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau met prominent player agent Dan Fegan near the start of Fegan’s career when he represented fellow Yale alum and New York Knick Chris Dudley in the 1990s while Thibodeau was a Knicks assistant coach.
At one time, Fegan represented the Wolves’ Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea as well as Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Shawn Marion, DeAndre Jordan and Amar’e Stoudemire, among many others.
Fegan died in a motor-vehicle accident last week in Aspen, Colo. He was 56.
“Really sad, a terrible loss,” Thibodeau said. “He was a tenacious negotiator. A really, really smart guy and always enjoyable to be around. Just sad for his family.”