Having lost three consecutive games for the first time this season, and with an imposing slate of games in front of them, it might be difficult to find any positive in Thursday’s loss to Boston.
But here is one: Forward Nemanja Bjelica.
His minutes having spiked since Jimmy Butler’s knee injury, Bjelica continues to get more aggressive. Thursday he scored a career-high 30 points, hit 11 of 16 shots overall, six of nine three-pointers and had 12 rebounds. He also played 40 or more minutes for the second consecutive game.
“I opened the game in a good rhythm,” he said. I scored a couple of threes, and my teammates were looking for me. Obviously I’m playing more and more, spending more time on the court. I’m trying to be aggressive. I have more opportunity to score.”
Bjelica was the team’s leading scorer in three of the four quarters. And he didn’t just settle for threes, driving the lane more as the game went on.
“He’s such an unbelievable shooter,” Jamal Crawford said. “I always say he’s our best shooter. He got in a great rhythm early. Nothing was forced.”
Much of Bjelica’s success came from the Celtics’ decision to pack the paint and concentrate on Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. As Bjelica said, he won’t score like this every night. But it’s clear his confidence has grown with this playing time. In three games in March he has averaged nearly 40 minutes, has made 18 of 29 shots overall, eight of 14 three-pointers and has averaged 9.3 rebounds.
Should the Wolves navigate themselves into a playoff spot, and Butler is ready to return, Bjelica’s experience in the starting role would add depth to the Wolves bench.
After nearly a quarter century with the Minnesota Wolves and Lynx, Roger Griffith has resigned from his position with the organization.
Griffith was chief financial officer, where he oversaw finances for both the Wolves and Lynx, in accounting, risk management, budgeting, cash management and investing. He also worked with both basketball operations in managing the salary cap. He was heavily involved in the financial aspects of both the building of the teams’ training facility and the renovation of Target Center.
Griffith had also served as General Manager of the Lynx, who won four WNBA titles under his watch. Coach Cheryl Reeve added the GM position to her title when she signed her recent contract extension.
“Roger’s leadership and dedication to the Timberwolves and Lynx franchises is unparalleled,” said Wolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor in a release sent out by the organization. “For the last 24 years he has guided many key aspects of our organization, showing great leadership and decision-making ability that will continue to benefit us for years to come. Roger has clearly established himself as one of the great sports executives in our market and will be missed.”
Current vice president of finance, Pete Stene, will be promoted to chief financial officer. In his 15th year with the Timberwolves and Lynx, Stene has been in his current role for six years.
“Roger will be missed by the Lynx and Timberwolves,” Reeve said. “He was a great friend to the WNBA and specifically to the Minnesota Lynx. We will forever be grateful for his role in bringing the Lynx to Minnesota and his guidance of the team throughout his tenure as general manager.”
Curry out Sunday
Two-time MVP Steph Curry will not be with the Golden State Warriors for the game vs. the Wolves on Sunday at Target Center.
The point guard sprained his right ankle Thursday — his second sprain of the ankle in six days — and will not travel with the team.
Golden State will also be without backup center Jordan Bell, who is also dealing with an ankle issue.