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Jimmy Butler had ‘nothing but amazing things to say’ about Andrew Wiggins, according to Andre Iguodala

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Jimmy Butler basically set fire to the Timberwolves organization on his way out of Minnesota, and Andrew Wiggins, alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, was seemingly among the most burned. 

During his infamous 2018 practice tirade in which he led a group of third-stringers to a scrimmage beatdown of Minnesota’s starters, Butler hurled “They ain’t [expletive]!” and “They soft!” insults in the direction of Wiggins and Towns, per Yahoo’s Chris Haynes

In what essentially amounted to a Timberwolves exit interview with then ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, Butler called Wiggins the  “most God-gifted” player on (then) Minnesota’s roster before adding that he (Butler) played the hardest, with the implication being that Wiggins didn’t do enough of the latter. 

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ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggested that the $147.7 million max contract extension the Wolves handed to Wiggins was another source of contention for Butler, with, again, the implication being that Butler didn’t feel Wiggins’ actual play hadn’t lived up to the potential upon which that payday was based. 

There was, in the end, a lot of speculation about Butler’s time in Minnesota and the theatrical manner in which it ended, and not much of it, if any at all, seemed very flattering for Wiggins. 

But it goes to show that, perhaps, things aren’t always what they might seem, or even as they are reported. A little over a week ago, Andre Iguodala, Wiggins’ current teammate with the Warriors who spent the last season and a half playing with Butler in Miami, said that Butler “had nothing but amazing things to say about [Wiggins], and that he really liked playing with [Wiggins].

“That was all I needed to hear to be honest, because Jimmy doesn’t like anybody,” Iguodala continued. “So when Jimmy said he liked Wiggs, I kind of started looking at it different.”

This doesn’t mean Butler wasn’t frustrated with Wiggins in Minnesota. Butler was obviously running on hot emotions at the end of his Wolves’ run, and with the benefit of time and space between that situation and his relocation to a Heat organization more collectively in line with his own intensity, it’s certainly feasible that he’s come to see things differently. 

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Or maybe he really did like playing with Wiggins all along and the reporting was inaccurate. 

Either way, it doesn’t really matter. This is all in the past. Butler is in a different and clearly better place, as if Wiggins, who has taken his opportunity with Golden State to completely flip the script on his still-young career narrative.

It’s not the 18.7 points per game Wiggins is scoring this season, or the 18.7 he scored last season, or the 19.4 he scored in his post-trade time with the Warriors in 2020 (Wiggins, give or take, has always been a 20-point-per-game scorer), it’s the manner in which he is getting those points, which is to say within the system rather than hunting low-efficiency mid-range jumpers. 

In each of Wiggins’ five full seasons with the Wolves, at least 40 percent of his shot attempts came from the midrange, and in four of the five seasons that number was at least 47 percent, per Cleaning the Glass. Particularly maddening were the long-midrange shots (between 14 feet and the 3-point line), which accounted for at least 22 percent of Wiggins’ shot profile in each of his five seasons in Minnesota. 

This season, only 13 percent of Wiggins’ shots are coming from the long midrange. Free of the burden that comes with being an ill-equipped primary scoring option, Wiggins hardly ever forces shots these days. He’s a luxury end-of-clock option off the dribble, but for the most part, he’s a star in his role, a 42-percent 3-point shooter on career-high frequency, an offensively content cog in a wheel of Stephen Curry movement. 

And his defense? Night and day from his time in Minnesota, where he was known for infrequent focus and effort. With the Warriors, Wiggins has consistently been one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and that’s not an exaggeration. 

The main reason the Warriors traded D’Angelo Russell was because they already had enough offense. What they didn’t have, in the absence of Klay Thompson, after the departure of Kevin Durant and before the return of Iguodala, was a top-shelf wing defender not named Draymond Green, who spends most of his time battling bigs. Wiggins, with his length and athleticism, looked like a candidate to fill that hole, but he had to prove himself committed night in and night out. 

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He’s done that for 100-plus games now. Wiggins is no longer a portrait of inconsistency and inefficiency. He’s the exact opposite as it pertains to both. He’s an indispensable two-way contributor on a championship-contending team. Neither Butler nor anyone else would’ve ever said such things about Wiggins in Minnesota. 



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Three Stars from Day 3 of WJC: Canada’s McTavish joins elite company – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada and the U.S. dominated in their second game of the tournament while Czechia and Finland went toe-to-toe and needed a shootout to determine a winner on Day 3 of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Canadian team rebounded from a sluggish performance with an 11-1 win over Slovakia, a game in which captain Mason McTavish added his name to the country’s record books.

Against Switzerland, the United States took their game to another gear that their opponent could not match as they cruised to a 7-1 victory to improve to 2-0 at the tournament.

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Finland dropped a crucial point as they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit but were able to pick up the shootout win over their rival Czechia.

Here is a look at the top performances from Day 3 of the world juniors.

3rd Star: Luke Hughes, USA

Coming from a great hockey family, Luke Hughes is making most of his opportunity as one of the top defencemen for the U.S. 

The younger brother of Quinn and Jack displayed his mobility and vision against Switzerland with a three-point effort. He now has five points in his first two games of the tournament — more than either of his brothers ever achieved at this event in fewer games.

Hughes leads all defenceman in scoring so far in the tournament and is tied for fourth overall.

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The 18-year-old played 21:18 against the Swiss to lead the U.S. in ice time playing on the top pairing with Brock Faber. His play from this point will be a crucial part of his team’s success given the creativity he displayed, especially on Matt Coronato’s goal in the second period.

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He made another top-notch set up on Thomas Bordeleau’s power-play goal in the third period as he delayed enough to get the defenders to pull towards his side of the ice.

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2nd Star: Carter Mazur, USA

Coming into the tournament, Carter Mazur is looking to build off an impressive season at the University of Denver. 

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While he was in a scoring slump in his first NCAA season, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made a call to his NHL team’s assistant director of player development, Daniel Cleary. After that, he would go on to finish with 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.

Those tips have now turned Mazur into a scoring machine as he accounted for two of the team’s seven goals and was also named the player of the game as the top line of Mazur, Landon Slaggert, and Thomas Bordeleau had an impressive performance against Switzerland

After a scoreless first period, Mazur wasn’t going to make any mistake on a point-blank chance in front of the net with Mackie Samoskevich making a great pass from behind the net.

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With the Americans looking to add to their lead, Mazur was once again the beneficiary of a great pass from Slaggert as he made no mistake from the front of the net.

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He added another assist on Slaggert’s goal later in the period for his third point of the game. Through his first two games at the world juniors, Mazur has four points and is tied for sixth in scoring.

1st Star: Mason McTavish, Canada

On a night where Canada dominated from start to finish, Mason McTavish joined some elite company with a night he’ll certainly remember for a long time.

The 19-year-old joined Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, Maxime Comtois and teammate Connor Bedard as the only players to score four goals in a single world junior game for Canada. The tournament record for goals in a single game is held by Sweden’s Ola Rosander who had six back in 1987.

With his performance against Slovakia in a dominant win for Canada, McTavish now sits atop the scoring lead with eight points in two games after registering six points in this game.

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McTavish scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway — with Canada already leading 5-0 midway through the second — making no mistake to beat Tomas Bolo, who came into the game after starter Simon Latkoczy was pulled going into the second period.

His second goal came off a great play by Joshua Roy who flipped the puck in the air to Brennan Othmann who then set up McTavish as he finished with a backhander to put Canada up 7-1. McTavish would complete the second-period hat trick, a day after Alexander Blank did the same for Germany, after a selfless pass from Roy on a 2-on-0 break.

Canada would capitalize on a turnover on McTavish’s fourth goal as Othmann set him up alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.

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There was some doubt about whether McTavish would suit up for Canada after playing a fair amount of hockey last season. Making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, the third overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft played in a total of 72 games between the NHL, AHL, OHL, Memorial Cup and the Olympics.

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Instead, McTavish decided to join the team in Edmonton and take on the role as captain where he has excelled centring Canada’s top line with Bedard and and a rotation of Roy and Othmann.

Canada will now look forward to a matchup against Czechia with a chance to improve to 3-0.

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Field of Dreams Game 2022: A celebration of baseball memories in an Iowa cornfield

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The Field of Dreams is an opportunity for fans and players alike to reflect on the people and places that taught them to love baseball, Jake Mintz writes.



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Ravens extend NFL record for consecutive postseason wins following Thursday’s victory over the Titans

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USA Today

The No. 21 is now synonymous with the longest winning streaks in NFL regular and preseason history. the 2003-04 Patriots won 21 consecutive games, an NFL record. On Thursday night, the Ravens won their 21st consecutive preseason game after securing a 23-10 decision against the Tennessee Titans

Baltimore has not lost a preseason game since 2016. Joe Flacco was their starting quarterback when the streak began, while Steve Smith Jr., who this past year was eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time, was heading into his final NFL season. Baltimore’s roster also included Terrell Suggs, who was entering his second-to-last season with the franchise. 

Along with not losing preseason games, another constant in Baltimore over the past six years has been kicker Justin Tucker, who is entering his 11th season with the Ravens. Tucker’s field goals of 47, 25 and 47 yards on Thursday night helped Baltimore pull out the win after falling behind midway through the second quarter. 

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The Ravens won Thursday’s game by winning the turnover margin while holding the Titans to 1 of 3 red zone efficiency. One of those turnovers was scooped up by Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens’ first-round pick in this past year’s draft. 

Baltimore won despite the efforts of Malik Willis, the Titans’ rookie quarterback who overcame a slow start to score his first NFL touchdown, a 7-yard run early in the second quarter. Speaking of quarterbacks, the Ravens received a strong night from Tyler Huntley, who completed all but two of his 18 pass attempts that included his game-winning touchdown pass to Shemar Bridges



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