About Last Night

About Last Night: Timberwolves escape OKC, win one 'for Flip'

Sixteen teams, eight games and a compelling night in the NBA.

Let’s talk about it.

Wolves win ‘for Flip’

In their first game since the firing of coach Tom Thibodeau, the Minnesota Timberwolves escaped Chesapeake Arena with a 119-117 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Andrew Wiggins went off for a season-high 40 points and 10 rebounds, while interim coach Ryan Saunders earned his first victory.

The 32-year-old coach is the son of the late Flip Saunders, who coached the Timberwolves for 11 seasons in two stints and passed away in 2015. Minnesota dedicated this win to him.

Ryan, who became the youngest coach to win in his coaching debut since Dave Cowens in 1978, wore a “Flip” pin on his jacket lapel throughout the game and was mobbed by his players after the final buzzer.

He was also doused with water in the locker room.

Shamet catches fire

Sixers guard Landry Shamet came off the bench and drilled eight 3-pointers in Philadelphia’s 132-115 win over the Washington Wizards. It’s the most 3s hit in a game by a rookie this season and one shy of the Sixers’ franchise record.

The 21-year-old was so hot Joel Embiid had to check his temperature.

Another Northwest Division battle

Much isn’t made about divisions these days, but the Timberwolves and Thunder continue to compete during each matchup and make it a true rivalry. Six of their last seven meetings have had a final score within four points, and both of their games this season have been within two.

One player who tends to show up in these games is Andrew Wiggins, who recorded his season high in scoring (40), on the glass (10) and at the line (16).

Last season, Wiggins hit a deep buzzer-beater in Oklahoma City that gave Minnesota the win. On Tuesday, he did it all during the late stages of the game.

With 2:12 remaining in the fourth, Wiggins had a clutch jumper, block and assist that helped secure a Timberwolves victory.

‘The Klaw’ locks down Hawks

When the Toronto Raptors found themselves in a late battle with the lowly Atlanta Hawks, the best player on the floor stepped up and did what he does best.


Kawhi Leonard posted a season-high six steals, none bigger than the one he grabbed with 24.1 seconds left and the Raptors down one.

His forced turnover led to a Serge Ibaka dunk on the other end, which set the Hawks up for one last possession. Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce turned to rookie Trae Young and Raptors boss Nick Nurse called on two-time Kia Defensive Player of the Year Leonard.

Not much of a surprise as to who won that battle.

Showing love to Noel

Nerlens Noel went down with a scary injury after being elbowed by Wiggins and hitting his head hard on the floor.

Players across the NBA wished him well, including Wiggins himself.

No way it’s halfway?

The Golden State Warriors breezed past the New York Knicks behind Klay Thompson’s 43-point eruption. After playing their 41st game of the season ― the official midway point of an 82-game regular season schedule ―Thompson was asked how he felt at the season’s halfway mark.

“I feel great,” Thompson said in a postgame interview. “This isn’t the halfway mark. It’s a third for us.”

Well, with one-third of their season completed, the Warriors are about to be even better as of Jan. 18.

Back where it all began

Vince Carter spent the first six and a half seasons of his career in Toronto, mesmerizing fans with dunks and memorable performances.

Carter was greeted with to a memorable moment on Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena, where the former Raptors icon received a standing ovation.

On the Hawks’ first possession, the ‘Half Man, Half Amazing’ got the ball in his hands and drained an open 3.

While many suggest this could be the last time Carter hits the court up North, he hasn’t fully drawn that conclusion himself. The Raptors third all-time scorer told TSN’s Josh Lewenberg he “can’t imagine” retiring right now.

A bet’s a bet

Clemson’s bludgeoning of Alabama in the College Football National Championship left Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton with a price to pay.

The former Crimson Tide point guard made a friendly bet with teammate and Clemson alum Jaron Blossomgame.

He’s a man of his word.

Quote of the Night

Nikola Jokic on his game-winning shot: “The floater is kind of my game. I love that shot just because I cannot dunk.”