Mar 27, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio (9) dribbles against the Los Angeles Lakers during the third quarter at Target Center. Lakers won 120-117. Mandatory Credit: Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Season: The End Is Near

There’s a slew of games this evening with Playoff implications. Houston and the Lakers, Golden State and Portland, Utah and Memphis all come to mind. The Rockets laid an egg against the Suns in their last game, putting Golden State in the driver’s seat for the 6th seed matchup against the not-Spurs. It’s doubtful whether Houston will be bringing it tonight against a fighting-for-their-playoff-lives Lakers squad that is without Kobe Bryant.

Still don’t know if I think anything about the foul by Golden State’s Harrison Barnes that ended Kobe’s season…

We’ve seen more contact on would-be game-tying 3s…

As a preliminary Wolves wrap-up, many will bring up Ricky Rubio’s first triple-double to the Best of 2012-2013 Season Highlights — and it’s good stuff to behold, even if it came while Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were out (something of a theme for the Spurs this year).

But the comeback in Brooklyn, with the Nets being a team that had all the glitz and glamour of its own shiny new things (Joe Johnson, Barclays Center), especially after the Wolves were so demoralized in Toronto the night before and suffered through an uninspiring first half being bombarded by 3s; the comeback was so unexpected and showed so many new themes that would play out and reappear throughout the rest of the season, it will top my season highlights.

All those new Wolves got a chance to introduce themselves. Dante Cunningham’s hustle on the boards (I specifically remember him tearing an offensive rebound away from a casual D-Will and scoring) and his fondness for that mid-range shot was rewarded. Andrei Kirilenko’s everyman defense and fill-in-the-cracks offense was on display, running like a young deer and for the first time in a long time not allowing Gerald Wallace to wreak havoc on the Wolves small forwards. Alexey Shved’s first big-time moment came with some savvy defense on Deron Williams as well as some nice court awareness that would last a month or two. Chase Budinger drilling that 3 to seal the deal is a cruel reminder of what little outside shooting the Wolves had, that his torn meniscus stole from them for most of the season.

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Tags: Brooklyn Nets Kobe Bryant Minnesota Timberwolves San Antonio Spurs

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