As the final buzzer sounded and his teammates swarmed him on the court, Derrick Rose couldn’t help but fight back tears.
Rose’s emotions were on full display moments after he scored a career-high 50 points in a vintage performance that lifted the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Utah Jazz 128-125 on Wednesday.
Given everything he’s been through, it was a special night for the 2011 NBA MVP.
“It still didn’t even hit me yet,” he said. “Words can’t explain how I feel right now. It’s been a while.”
Derailed by injuries for years, Rose walked off serenaded by chants of “MVP! MVP!” from the home crowd. The 30-year-old point guard shot 19 of 31 from the field and hit four 3-pointers. He played 41 minutes, his most in nearly two years.
“He has courage, he has humility and he has character,” said Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, who also coached Rose during his prime seasons in Chicago. “He’s been through a lot of adversity. He’s maybe one of the most mentally tough people I’ve ever come across.”
Rose had 34 points in the second half and 15 in a tightly contested fourth quarter as the Wolves held off the Jazz, who waived Rose in February after a two-day stint.
His basket down low with 30 seconds remaining put Minnesota up for good, and he made two free throws with 13.8 seconds left to make it a three-point lead.
“He made a lot of plays, made some tough shots,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We had some breakdowns, a little bit of everything.”
Jae Crowder and Joe Ingles each missed a 3-pointer that could have tied it for Utah. Rose then blocked a 3-point try by Dante Exum with 2.7 seconds to go, and the Timberwolves grabbed the loose ball to seal it.
Back in the locker room, excited teammates doused Rose in celebration.
One of his biggest shots was a corner 3 that tied the game at 119. That gave him 44 points, which matched his previous high set during the 2011 playoffs with the Bulls. His regular-season best had been 42 points.
Rose tied it at 110 with one of his patented layups, giving him 41 points. He weaved through traffic and made the off-balance shot, showing glimpses of the moves that once made him an elite player and the top pick in the 2008 draft.
“He was feeling great and when you start feeling great you get some extra energy, you get some extra adrenaline and you make amazing plays and that’s what he did the whole game,” Utah center Rudy Gobert said.
Making his first start of the season, Rose scored 19 points in the third quarter as the Timberwolves took a five-point lead into the fourth. Karl-Anthony Towns added nine of his 28 points in the period.
Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Gobert added 22 for Utah. Crowder provided 18 points off the bench.
Mitchell did not play in the final 4:22 because of right hamstring tightness and will be re-evaluated Thursday.
The Wolves put the Jazz on the free throw line plenty in the fourth quarter. After 11 attempts through three periods, Utah was 13 of 19 from the line in the fourth.
Minnesota played without All-Star Jimmy Butler, as well as point guards Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones. Butler sat out with what the team described as “general soreness.”
Butler, who has been the main story line in Minnesota for much of the early season due to his trade request, reportedly plans to play Friday at Golden State.
The Timberwolves got Andrew Wiggins back after he missed three games with a quadriceps injury. Wiggins had missed just one total game in his first four seasons before his recent setback. He scored 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting.
Jazz: G Alec Burks (left hand sprain) did not play. Burks also did not play Sunday at Dallas. … Utah is 4-1 on the road this season and 0-2 at home. … Gobert had his third straight game with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds.
Timberwolves: Thibodeau said Teague underwent an MRI but was awaiting more tests. Teague is day-to-day. … Jones was a late scratch with right foot soreness he experienced during warmups. … The Wolves debuted their “Classic Edition” jerseys, a throwback to the uniforms the team wore from 1996-2008.
Jazz: Host Memphis on Friday.
Timberwolves: Visit Golden State on Friday.
Lavar Declares Lonzo, LaMelo won’t leave BBB
For the Big Baller Brand, it’s all about family.
However, after the Ball family’s company had been hit with fraud, scandals, and faulty products, New Orleans Pelicans Lonzo Ball and top 2020 NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball are considering starting fresh with new endorsement deals.
But according to their father Lavar Ball, his two sons aren’t going anywhere.
In his TMZ interview, the CEO of Big Baller Brand stated, “Lonzo can think all day. He ain’t signing with nobody but Big Baller Brand.”
Recently, Lonzo openly stated he is interested in signing endorsement deals with other brands. Lonzo has also encouraged his brother LaMelo to take meetings with other shoe brands before signing a shoe deal.
Lonzo has appeared to be at odds with Lavar all offseason. After Big Baller Brand Co-Founder Alan Foster allegedly stole $1.5 million from the company, Lonzo became wary of the company’s value. In response, Lavar claimed Lonzo is “damaged goods” on their hit reality TV show Ball in the Family.
Lonzo has also gone on record to bash the quality of BBB’s products, claiming he “had to switch [his shoes] every quarter because they would just rip.”
Lavar also said LaMelo would stay with the brand as well, even though he has not worn any BBB shoes while playing in the NBL in Australia. Nike has reportedly scouted LaMelo for a potential endorsement deal with the Oregon-based company.
With the Big Baller Brand facing so much turmoil, Lavar’s fatherly commands may not be enough to keep his sons with the family brand.
NBA Season Preview and Power Rankings
We are only one week away from getting our first taste of action for the 2019-20 NBA regular season.
Next Tuesday night, the Toronto Raptors will raise their first championship banner to the rafters and give out their championship rings.
The defending champs will then kick off the season for the NBA against the up-and-coming New Orleans Pelicans, in a precursor to the game we have all been waiting to watch.
After the Raptors game, all eyes will be glued to the battle of Los Angeles, when the Clippers square off against the Lakers for the first time this season.
LeBron was the only player of the four superstars that was in L.A. last season, as the NBA landscape has changed significantly since a year ago.
With all of the player movement that took place in free agency, the NBA is more wide open than it has been in a long time.
There aren’t many teams that are coming into this season expecting to miss the playoffs and plenty of them actually feel like they have a legitimate chance to make a deep playoff run towards a championship.
As we all anxiously await the first tip, take a look at the first power rankings of the 2019-20 season.
The Washington Mystics Win First WNBA Championship in Thrilling Fashion
What a difference a year makes for the Washington Mystics.
After being swept in last year’s WNBA Finals by the Seattle Storm, the Mystics came back this season with a vengeance.
Lead by league MVP Elena Della Donne, the Mystics secured the best regular-season record in the WNBA and battled in a grueling Finals series against the Connecticut Sun, winning the series 3-2.
With Della Donne battling several injuries (including three herniated discs in her back), it was Emma Meesseman that delivered with 22 points in the winner-take-all Game 5.
Messeman became the first European-born WNBA Finals MVP, while Della Donne added 21 points. Connecticut Sun’s Jonquel Jones fought hard to the very end, leading the runner-ups with 25 points.
This championship was a long time coming for Mystic’s Head Coach Mike Thibault. The winningest coach in WNBA history finally secured his first title after 17 seasons.
Washington Wizards players John Wall, Bradley Beal, Ian Mahinmi
With the tenacity these women have shown throughout the season, it’s no surprised Della Done is looking forward to some much-deserved rest.
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