Around the NBA: Wolves learn­ing . . . Gi­no­bili’s grand

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - Doug Smith

The Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves hit a bit of a bump when they were routed Wed­nes­day night by the Golden State War­riors, who were play­ing with­out Kevin Durant. Still, one of the more in­trigu­ing teams in the NBA is off to an ex­cel­lent start, among the top teams in the West­ern Con­fer­ence with a 7-4 record head­ing into Thurs­day. In­cluded in those seven wins were five in a row, and the last time a Min­nesota team rat­tled off five straight was Jan. 2 to 10, 2009. But with so much of the sea­son to go and a rel­a­tively young team, coach Tom Thi­bodeau isn’t go­ing to let them get too full of them­selves: “Ob­vi­ously, it’s better than los­ing, but . . . there’s an­other one com­ing to­mor­row, so if you start feel­ing good about your­self, you’re go­ing to get knocked down.” That was be­fore the War­riors spanked them, so the coach knows what of he speaks.


The age­less Manu Gi­no­bili of the San An­to­nio Spurs went past the 1,000game mark this week, and there’s never been a player who’s had such an im­pact over that pe­riod of time. Now, a lot of it has to do with the fran­chise he’s spent his en­tire ca­reer with, but of the first 1,000 games the Ar­gen­tine won­der played, he was on the win­ning side 728 times — the most ever by a player at the 1,000game plateau. Not sur­pris­ingly, se­cond-best was Tony Parker with 718 and Tim Dun­can won 707 of his first 1,000 for fourth on the list. Former Bull Scot­tie Pip­pen (715) broke up the Spurs dom­i­na­tion and sits third.


There are some cer­tain­ties this time of year: Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber come and the weather changes, the NBA sea­son be­gins, and the Philadel­phia 76ers stum­ble out of the game as The Process drones on. But times, and the team’s for­tunes, are chang­ing. When Philadel­phia beat the In­di­ana Pacers last week­end and then top­pled the Utah Jazz on Tues­day, it ran their record to 6-4 head­ing into Thurs­day at Sacra­mento. Re­gard­less of how that turns out, the Six­ers will have a win­ning record on Fri­day morn­ing and this marks the first week they’ve been over .500 on any Novem­ber morn­ing since 2013.


Jared Sullinger, whose all-to-brief stint with the Rap­tors was ru­ined by pre-sea­son foot surgery a year ago, seems to have found a nice new home. Hav­ing washed out with three NBA teams — Bos­ton, Toronto and Phoenix after the Rap­tors dealt him for P.J. Tucker — Sullinger is hav­ing a won­der­ful sea­son in China with the Shen­zhen Leop­ards. So good that the six-foot-nine for­ward set a new high in China’s CBA last week­end with 55 points against Xin­jiang. He be­gan this week av­er­ag­ing 47.3 points and 17.7 re­bounds per game.


The Sacra­mento Kings up­set the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der on Tues­day for their se­cond win in 10 games, and were go­ing after No. 3 when they hosted the Philadel­phia 76ers on Thurs­day night. Two wins, or even three, are noth­ing re­ally to crow about, but the Kings are try­ing to end one of the long­est stretches of fu­til­ity of the re­cent era and ev­ery vic­tory counts. Sacra­mento has not put to­gether a sea­son of 35 wins or more in the last 10, and the march to even medi­ocrity is long. It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble for a bad team to stay that bad for so long. The Kings are the gold stan­dard when it comes to poor records.

Manu Gi­no­bili’s first 1,000 games in the NBA with the mighty Spurs were hard to beat.

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