NBA DAILY DRIBBLE: Towns downs the Grizzlies

NBA results: January 31, 2019

Charlotte Hornets (94) – Boston Celtics (126)

Chicago Bulls (105) – Miami Heat (89)

Dallas Mavericks (114) – New York Knicks (90)

Indiana Pacers (89) – Washington Wizards (107)

Memphis Grizzlies (97) – Minnesota Timberwolves (99)

Denver Nuggets (105) – New Orleans Pelicans (99)

Atlanta Hawks (113) – Sacramento Kings (135)

Utah Jazz (105) – Portland Trail Blazers (132)

Three things that happened in the NBA today:

1. KAT FTW!

It wasn’t a particularly good game for Karl-Anthony Towns. He was going up against the Grizzlies, more specifically, Marc Gasol. Memphis targeted Towns on defense and the Big Spaniard walled off the paint against Towns.

The game took a grit-and-grind identity, favoring the Grizzlies. What was supposed to be an easy win for the Timberwolves turned into a physical OT battle. Towns only had 14 points on 16 shots and nine rebounds at that point. He also had five fouls. The Timberwolves couldn’t afford another extra period.

With less than 10 seconds left in the extra period, the Timberwolves had a chance to put the game away. Minny turned to their new closer, Andrew Wiggins for the game-winner. Wiggins killed time far from the hoop, dribbled into the midrange area and pulled up for a jumper.

The shot was long and the ball hit back iron high into the air with 2.3 seconds left on the clock. Gasol and Ivan Rabb had Towns blocked out. With two bodies on him, Towns couldn’t get to the board. But the ball bounced further than Rabb and Gasol had anticipated. It flew over them and landed near Towns.

The young big man plucked the rebound, turned and fired a desperation shot from the right baseline. The ball fell through the hoop right after the buzzer sounded giving the Timberwolves the win.

Towns finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. It was an ugly game saved by a crazy shot. The Timberwolves bounce back from two straight losses and get back on the winning track. This young group still has their eyes set on a return to the Playoffs. They’re currently at 11th with a 25-26 record.

2. Dirk says goodbye to MSG

No one knows what the future holds for Dirk Nowitzki. He hasn’t announced his retirement after this season. But somehow, every game he plays feels like a semi-retirement tour.

Today, the Mavericks visited the Knicks, the only time they play in MSG this season. Which means, this could be the last time Nowitzki plays in the Mecca. If it was, he put on quite a show. Dirk scored a season high 14 points in what could be his final game in New York.

He checked into the game with 2:33 left in the first and the Garden crowd showed their love with a standing ovation. He rewarded the love by nailing a three-pointer to start the second period. Nowitzki then scored on his patented fade away from the post over two Knicks defenders, much to the delight of the MSG crowd. He did it again from the opposite side.

The Knick fans don’t have much to cheer for this season. So, they cheered for Dirk instead. They popped at every basket Dirk had. They erupted when he hit his final bucket, a mid range J near the end of the final period.

The young guys carried the Mavs to the win (Dennis Smith with 13-10-15 and Luka Doncic with 16-8-5). But the crowd was there to watch Dirk. Everyone wanted a piece of him. And ever the gracious superstar, Dirk obliged.

3. West All-Star Reserves show out

Yesterday, potential East All-Star Reserves showcased their games before the announcement of the selections. Today, the West counterparts did the same.

Nikola Jokic filled-up the stat sheet in Denver’s win over the Pelicans. He had a 23-13-10 triple-double with three steals and two blocks.

Damian Lillard nearly had a triple-double of his own too. He dropped 36 points on the Jazz to lead the Trail Blazers to a big win. Lillard also had 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Photo from Getty Images

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