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It took eight seasons and a succession of general managers and coaches. So many losses.

But on this night, the future looked extremely bright.

On April 10, 1997, the Timberwolves were Cheap Dean Garrett Jersey in the process of finishing off a 108-96 victory in Los Angeles over the Clippers.

According to Steve Aschburner’s description Minnesota Timberwolves Jerseys China in the Star Tribune the next day, with less than two minutes left and the game in hand, Stephon Marbury smiled, clenched his fists and “hissed a quiet ‘Yes.’ ”

When the final buzzer sounded, Marbury jumped into Kevin Garnett’s arms, then they both shared a hug with veteran Cheap Doug West Jersey Doug West — who had been there since the beginning.

This Week in Minnesota Sports: The complete collection
This Week in Minnesota Sports: The complete collection
The Star Tribune sports staff has been looking back at the anniversaries of some of the big moments in Minnesota sports, and plans on doing…
“That was a tribute to Doug and the rest Cheap Kevin Garnett Jersey of the Timberwolves [people] who have been here from Day 1,” Garnett said at the time.

It was on that night, in the 651st game in franchise history, that the Wolves clinched their first playoff berth.

“It was incredibly exciting,” said sideline reporter Tom Hanneman, who eventually became the team’s TV play-by-play voice Cheap Sam Mitchell Jersey and then studio host. He remembers the joy in the locker room.

“You felt this was just the beginning.”

The talent was coalescing. Tom Gugliotta had been acquired from Golden State in a trade for Donyell Marshall in 1995, the same year Garnett was taken with the fifth overall pick. A year later, in a draft-day trade, the Wolves got Marbury, who had been taken by Milwaukee with the fourth overall pick, for Ray Allen, who Cheap Stephon Marbury Jersey the Wolves had picked fifth. They were surrounded by veterans such as West, Sam Mitchell, Terry Porter and Dean Garrett.

A 26-win team the season before, the 1996-97 Wolves went 40-42. Gugliotta averaged a career-best 20.6 points per game. That season he made his only All-Star Game appearance and Garnett made his first. On the night the Wolves beat the Clippers to clinch a playoff spot, Marbury had 29 points, Gugliotta 23 and Garnett 19 for coach Flip Saunders.

The biggest memory Hanneman had of that game was the next day. The scheduled charter back home was delayed by a Cheap Terry Porter Jersey mechanical issue. So Saunders put the team on a bus and took them bowling.

“I remember it well,” he said. “KG said he’d never bowled before. His first roll was a gutter ball. It didn’t look like he had any form. But within four rolls he was getting consistent strikes. It was a great morning, and it was a bonding experience that nobody had planned. Flip was brilliant at keeping the team together.”

It was the start of eight consecutive playoff appearances for the Wolves. But history shows the team’s trajectory wasn’t as steep as that spring might have promised. The Wolves only got out of the first round once, in 2004. By that time Cheap Tom Gugliotta Jersey both Gugliotta and Marbury, for different reasons, had pushed themselves out of Minnesota.

“I don’t think the future ever looked brighter for the franchise,” Hanneman said of the spring of ’97. “You look back now and think, ‘What if?’ Wolves fans have had a lot of what ifs.”

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I Iwill never forget this game. My first season covering the Minnesota Timberwolves as a credentialed media member was coming to end when the Houston Rockets came to town on April 11, 2014. The Wolves were a respectable 39-39 hosting the 52-win Rockets, and while this was Minnesota’s best record in years, their inability Custom Minnesota Timberwolves Jerseys to close tight games kept them out of the playoff race.

If the Wolves were going to Cheap Corey Brewer Jersey get win No. 40, they would have to do it without Kevins Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic. This left the Wolves with Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, Robbie Hummel, Dante Cunningham, and Corey Brewer as their starting five. Talk about a bunch of prolific scorers.

To even out the lineups, Dwight Howard sat this game out leaving James Harden to gladly get his shots up. This was Cheap Gorgui Dieng Jersey the first night of an away-home back-to-back at the end of a road trip and it made sense for Houston to sit Howard with a playoff run looming. Howard would play the next night in Houston.

Aside from Harden, Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones, Omer Asik, and Jeremy Lin were the Rockets starters. This game was so long ago that Parsons was still a 40-minute per game player and Robert Covington and Patrick Beverley couldn’t Cheap Karl-Anthony Towns Jersey even get in the game. But Kevin McHale was able to find four minutes for Isaiah Canaan.

Anyway, this isn’t about Kevin McHale’s rotations. This is about career 8.7 points per game scorer Corey Brewer dropping 51 points in a game. That’s a four-quarter, 48-minute game with no overtime.

Brewer’s previous career high was 29 points, set the season before with the Denver Nuggets. Corey Brewer played 814 career games and scored more than 20 points 54 times. The highest single-season scoring average in Brewer’s career was 13 points per game even. None of this is to diminish Brewer’s career Cheap Nikola Pekovic Jersey or abilities, but the point is he was not a scorer.

Yet, in spite of this fact, he would set a Timberwolves franchise record for scoring and hold that title for 10 months.

Something in the Air
The first thing I remember about this day was feeling weird. Nothing was going on or wrong, I just recall sensing a weird vibe. It’s fitting this feeling carried over to the basketball game I was covering in the evening. No Pekovic, Love, or Martin against one of the best teams in the conference? Why not. At least Howard’s absence somewhat leveled the playing field.

Despite playing shorthanded, the Wolves led 39-32 after one quarter. Brewer was nearly one-quarter of the way to his eventual career high with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Not only was the efficiency impressive, but Brewer averaged 10 shots per game for the entire 2014 season.

The Wolves regressed hard in the second quarter, scoring just 20 points in the quarter. You know who didn’t regress? That’s right, Brewer. The swingman chipped in another 10 points while none of his teammates mustered more than two points in the final 12 minutes of the first half. Houston led 63-59 at the half, which Cheap Ricky Rubio Jersey wasn’t bad given the Wolves’ missing players and Parsons and Harden combining for 33 points on 11-for-16 shooting.

With 26 points at the half, we joked on media row that Brewer could get to 40 before the night was through. If this was someone like Karl-Anthony Towns, that jump would surprise few people but Brewer’s reputation was solidified seven years into his career. And after a 10-point third quarter that brought him to 36 points, Brewer getting two more buckets seemed inevitable. Fifty, however, seemed like a stretch.

The Wolves entered the fourth trailing by two points, which had to feel like a small victory in itself. If the Timberwolves wanted to steal a victory, they need Brewer to put the team on his wiry-but-sturdy shoulders once again.

Brewer delivered with a 15-point quarter that included shooting 4-for-7 from the field and hitting 7-of-8 free throws in the frame. While no one was cheering on media row, there was a lot of amazement at this unlikely scoring performance. Brewer’s performance was inexplicable and came from nowhere, but moments like these are among the most memorable in sports.

What no one remembers is the Wolves holding on for the 112-110 victory. Aside from Brewer, Cunningham (20 points) and Rubio (16 points on 16 shots) were the team’s next greatest scoring contributions.

A Night Unlike Any Other
Brewer finished the game with 51 points, two rebounds, one assist, and six steals. He used 32.6 percent of the team’s possessions but turned the ball over only twice. What’s most impressive and differentiates Brewer’s performance from 50-point games in 2020 is that he shot just six 3-pointers.

Brewer made up for his outside shooting by making 11 of his 15 free throw attempts and going 17-of-24 on 2-pointers. In fact, Brewer made just three shots outside of the paint in almost 45 minutes of playing time. Had Howard played, it’s unlikely Brewer has the same unfettered access to the basket. Brewer took advantage of this weakness again and again and the Rockets could do little to stop him.

Some other notable happenings included:

The short rotations — Houston played eight players (if you don’t count Canaan’s minor minutes) and Minnesota did the same. These are playoff rotations late in the regular season.
Aside from Covington, future Timberwolf Troy Daniels was also on the bench for this Rockets team.
Harden had 33 points on 14 shots because he went 15-of-19 from the line and missed a triple double by two rebounds.
This game was a great reminder of how good Parsons was: 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists on 4-of-8 shooting from deep.
Despite playing just eight players, four Wolves scored in double figures and the team received all of eight bench points.
While Brewer was never a big-time scorer, this game said a lot about him as a player. Brewer was ready and stepped into a greater role when the team needed him to. Looking at the injuries the Wolves had on this night and the lack of support from the remaining cast, and the Wolves easily lose this game if Brewer gives them any less.

This game was arguably the strange

his first 3-pointer of Juan Hernangomez Jersey the sequence drew the

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Down most of the way, the Timberwolves rallied to as much as a four-point lead early in the fourth period, when Anthony took over.
Written By: Field Level Media | 10:08 pm, Mar. 13, 2021
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) rebounds a ball away from Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (11) Cheap Gary Trent Jersey in the first quarter at Target Center on Saturday, March 13, 2021. Bruce Kluckhohn / USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) rebounds a ball away from Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (11) Stitched Minnesota Timberwolves Jerseys in the first quarter at Target Center on Saturday, March 13, 2021. Bruce Kluckhohn / USA TODAY Sports
Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his team-high 26 points in an early fourth-quarter run that allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to Cheap Karl-Anthony Towns Jersey rally past the host Minnesota Timberwolves 125-121 on Saturday night, March 13, in the opener of a two-game set.

The Northwest Division clubs will meet again Sunday night, also at Minnesota.

Down most of the way, the Timberwolves rallied to as much as a four-point lead early in the fourth period, the final time at 99-95 after a Naz Reid layup.

That’s when Anthony took over. His 15-footer with 9:46 left cut the Portland deficit in half, and his first 3-pointer of the sequence drew the Cheap Ricky Rubio Jersey Trail Blazers even at 101-all at the 8:38 mark.

Rodney Hood then put Portland on top for good on two free throws with 7:48 to go, after which Anthony connected from deep again, making it a five-point game.

A 3-pointer by Anfernee Simons pushed Cheap Naz Reid Jersey the Portland advantage to 109-103 with 6:44 remaining. The Timberwolves never caught up, thanks in large part to two key late hoops by Damian Lillard.

Anthony’s 26 were his second-most this season. He put up a season-high 29 against Charlotte on March 1.

Lillard nearly matched his teammate with 25 points while also completing a double-double with a game-high 10 assists for Cheap Jaylen Nowell Jersey Portland, which was coming off a home loss to Phoenix on Thursday.

Enes Kanter also Cheap Juan Hernangomez Jersey had a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while Gary Trent Jr. added 14 points and Derrick Jones Jr. 11 for the Trail Blazers, who improved to 2-0 against Minnesota this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns had a game-high 34 points to go with a team-high 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had snapped a nine-game Cheap Jarred Vanderbilt Jersey losing streak with a win at New Orleans on Thursday.

Anthony Edwards went for 21 points, Jaylen Nowell 17, Reid 11 and Juan Hernangomez 10 for Minnesota. Ricky Rubio also Cheap Anthony Edwards Jersey had 10 points to complement a team-high eight assists.

After trailing by as many as 13 in the first half and 12 in the third quarter, the Timberwolves chipped away, eventually catching and passing Cheap Jaden McDaniels Jersey the visitors on a 3-pointer by Jaden McDaniels that put Minnesota up 94-93 with 4.6 seconds left in the third period.

Nowell opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that put the Timberwolves up four, but Portland soon thereafter regained the lead for good thanks to Anthony’s surge.