Malik Beasley had 19 points in the third quarter of Friday’s 132-118 Timberwolves loss to the Magic.
He had 29 for the game and was shooting 14 of 21 – but Beasley didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Coach Ryan Saunders said after the game it was his intent to get Beasley back in for the stretch run if the Wolves’ second unit had cut into a large Orlando lead that was 19 headed into the fourth. When the Wolves couldn’t get much closer, Saunders decided to keep Beasley on the bench, along with D’Angelo Russell, although Russell was having an off night (five points, 2 of 14 shooting).
“It got to a point when they’re up a certain number, they’re up big like that and Malik’s been on the bench for however many minutes?” Saunders said. “You want to do right by him too and you don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s cold going out there.”
It wasn’t a huge deal to Beasley after the game, and he was more upset at himself and the way he started the game.
“Coach made a decision to see how our second unit is going to do,” Beasley said. “We didn’t get a chance to make another run, so I didn’t get to play the fourth quarter. Either way I got to start the game off ready to play.”
Beasley had played 28 minutes up to that point in the game, so Saunders likely wouldn’t have Beasley play the entire fourth quarter under normal circumstances. Most likely Beasley would have played the final six to eight minutes, but Saunders decided to rest him when the Wolves didn’t have a great chance of winning at that point in the game.
Clifford to the hospital
Orlando coach Steve Clifford left the game during the third quarter and was taken to a local hospital, the Magic said. ESPN reported Clifford had two heart stents put in during 2013, but this issue seemed not to be heart related. ESPN also said the hospital visit was precautionary.
“Obviously prayers to coach Clifford,” Saunders said. “He’s a guy that, as long as you bring him up, he’s a guy that does not get enough credit in this league for how he coaches and what he does with teams. He’s just a basketball lifer. I really hope he’s OK. Thoughts go out to him.”