Wolves can be proud of playoffs; road to return has potholes

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first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next With Butler the resident alpha male in the locker room, the Wolves can no longer be considered an up-and-coming atmosphere where patience with the development of young cornerstones Towns and Andrew Wiggins will be welcomed. With the presence of Butler and the other acquisitions from last year, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford, there’s clearly a win-now window in place.“They’ve learned what it takes to get yourself to the playoffs,” Butler said. “Now us as a whole, we have to figure out what it takes to win, whenever we get there. No matter what seed we are, that’s what we’re expected to do.”Layden wondered aloud whether the Wolves should have been more aggressive to acquire a new player at the trade deadline in February.“We had a lot of things that went back and forth, and maybe we should’ve done something a little different,” Layden said. “I take responsibility for that, but we’re always looking to push and push and get better.”BUTLER’S HEALTHADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Thibodeau has always leaned heavily on the starters he trusts the most, and this season with the Wolves was no exception. Butler was third in the NBA with an average of 36.7 minutes played per game, and coincidentally or not he missed 23 games, all but two because of trouble with his right knee. Thibodeau said Butler will not need an additional procedure.Butler can also opt out of his contract after next season, without an extension in place.“It’s important for him to feel good about everything that we’re doing here,” Thibodeau said.LONG RANGEThe Wolves actually led the NBA during the playoffs with a 41.3 percent make rate from 3-point range, but part of the problem is a lack of space in the playbook for setting up attempts from beyond the arc. They finished last in the league in the regular season with an average of eight 3-pointers made per game.“I thought our guys in the second half of the season were doing a very good job of looking for opportunities, but we do have to take more,” Thibodeau said.Even owner Glen Taylor, in an interview earlier this month with his hometown newspaper, the Mankato Free Press, openly questioned the lack of improvement.“If other teams can learn to shoot 3s, why can’t we?” Taylor told the Free Press.WINNING WITH WIGGINS?The maximum contract the Wolves gave Wiggins last summer will kick in next season, paying the 23-year-old more than $25 million. There’s no player on the roster who will be under more pressure to be more consistently productive on both ends of the court. Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast Impressive season lays groundwork for Pacers future In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, right, watches from the bench during the second half in Game 5 of the team’s first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time since 2004, the Minnesota Timberwolves are entering May without their customary collection of good-luck charms for the NBA draft lottery.The longest-running absence from the playoffs in the league finally over, the Wolves took a significant accomplishment into the summer after their 47-35 record during the regular season tied for the fifth-best in franchise history.ADVERTISEMENT “The experience of the playoffs was huge for him. He did a lot of good things,” Thibodeau said. “I think we saw down the stretch him playing a more complete game, and I think he can build off that.”BJELICANemanja Bjelica, who played both forward spots off the bench and was a relatively productive starter during Butler’s absence, will be a restricted free agent. His playing time was scant during the playoff series, which Thibodeau said was matchup-related.“But I thought overall he played really well for us,” Thibodeau said. “Sometimes you have to put the team first.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award “When you haven’t done something for 14 years, it’s a major step for our organization, and it’s not easy to do. Winning in this league is very difficult, and we should understand that,” said president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau, who joined general manager Scott Layden on Monday for a wrapup news conference.Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns gave the Timberwolves multiple representatives at the All-Star game for the first time since Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell in 2004 on their way to the Western Conference finals. That was the most recent postseason appearance until the first round series with Houston tipped off earlier this month. With 16 out of 41 home games declared sellouts, they had their highest number since 1991-92, and local television ratings were way up, too.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownStill, in typical Timberwolves fashion, the road to relevancy was not without potholes.Falling in five games to the Rockets was forgivable, considering their opponent had the NBA’s best record, but the Wolves were beaten a total of eight times by the league’s bottom eight teams that all won fewer than 29 games. Win just two of those, and they’re in third place in the West with a much more favorable matchup for the playoffs. LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img

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The Dangers of Fauxstalgia

first_imgUnsurprisingly, fauxstalgia is a financially lucrative business. Cashing in on the trend are bands as musically diverse as Take That and the Pixies, both of whom have performed to sold-out arenas on their recent comeback tours, with tickets exchanging hands for more than £200 on E-Bay. In the case of Take That, it was notable that the only former member of the band who did not participate in their reunion tour of 2006 was also the only one to have enjoyed a profitable music career since their demise almost a decade earlier. Likewise, by the time of the Pixies’ reunion in 2004, they had been defunct for twelve years and the royalties had dwindled substantially. 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Instead she attributes the reason for the tour to “nostalgia”, which is interesting if we consider that it was she who brought about their demise, dramatically resigning her place in the band during their world tour in 1998, on the grounds of in-band “differences”. At the recent press launch she said, “we’re doing this because it’s a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to be a Spice Girl again. Who would turn that down?” Who indeed, particularly if your last attempt at a solo-album, Passion, was met with such a distinctly passionless response that it failed even to reach the top-forty on first release. “Obviously it’s nostalgic,” she continued, “but  equally, if new fans want to come along, that’s fantastic.” And fauxstalgia is certainly to be cited for the astounding fact that the £85 tickets to the London dates of the tour sold out in just 38 seconds. As LMH second-year, gleeful golden-ticket holder and fauxstalgic fan, Gerard Lee, said, “Geri had already left the band by the time I got the chance to see them at Wembley Arena in 1998 so I decided I’d have to go this time round and see them all together”. Is anyone ever too young to indulge in a little nostalgia now and then? Perhaps there are babies who pine for the halcyon days of the womb. “Oh, alas for the amniotic fluid, the vitamin-rich food on tap, the lovely cosiness” they would moan if only they knew how. Instead, they pass their time wordlessly wailing for what has been. Perhaps there are children, on their first day of nursery school, who heave a little sigh for the dearly departed – the onesies, the high-chair, the cot – before stoically resigning themselves to the serious, grown-up business of tidying the Wendy house and making sure that the Cabbage Patch doll gets to bed on time. Certainly, at the not-too-ancient age of twenty, I’m no stranger to a spot of ‘fauxstalgia’ – that is, nostalgia for those who are young enough to know better. Midnight essay crises tend to induce severe bouts of fauxstalgia, during which I pine for my spoon-fed, well-read school days when I was a mere snip of a thing at eighteen. Gender divides at parties, Billie Piper on Top of the Pops (RIP), Starbucks-free high streets, and fake IDs comprise some of the things for which I’m occasionally fauxstalgic. And I’m not the only one. Indulging in fauxstalgia is a national hobby, largely thanks to the wonders of digital cameras, which allow us to pore over a photo only a moment after it has been taken (“didn’t we look pretty five minutes ago?”). Yet, the term ‘fauxstalgia’ does not only apply to this kind of premature nostalgia for things only recently past. Fauxstalgia also encompasses our false nostalgia for those things past which we never actually experienced ourselves. That today’s fashions are so heavily influenced by the styles of bygone eras, from the mini-dresses of the sixties to the maxi-dresses of the seventies, most likely represents a dearth of creative inspiration but may perhaps also be symptomatic of our fauxstalgic tendencies. In fact, this reverence of yesteryear leads to the irony that anything awarded the suffix ‘retro’, whether it be music, fashion or film, is automatically up-to-the-minute. From my adamance that Baby Spice and I were soulsisters (“we have the same name and we both have blonde hair!”) to my long-overdue epiphany as to the meaning of ‘Two Become One’, the Spice Girls are bound up with many of my formative childhood memories. Not least do I remember the tremulous thrill of buying a packet of Spice Girls photographs (the latest ‘official’ merchandise product to guzzle my pocket-money), only to discover that fate had dealt me a cruel hand since this new acquisition did not contain that rare photo for which I longed but rather was a duplicate of a packet I already possessed. Yet, despite my predilection for Spice Girls fauxstalgia of this kind, I shall not be joining the ranks of former fans in begging, borrowing, stealing or selling my vital organs in the hope of obtaining a ticket. In fact, I’m thoroughly disillusioned by the hype surrounding the Spice Girls’ reunion and, contrary to appearances, this is not due to any lingering photo-related bitterness. In my opinion, seeing the Spice Girls on their comeback tour will never be able to mean to me now what it did originally, not so much because I myself have changed but rather because the five members of the band have changed. Though the intricacies of the feminist ideology possibly underlying the motto, ‘Girl Power’, were lost on me as a child, I nevertheless appreciated the spirit of female friendship and sisterhood which the Spice Girls represented to girls of my age. Yet, the photo shoot which accompanied the press launch for their comeback tour made it abundantly clear that no such camaraderie still exists between them. No longer resembling a cohesive five-piece, no longer even friends, they stood stiffly as five individuals, all of whom are unrecognisable from their former individual ‘Spice’ personas. Mel C, Mel B and Emma, once Sporty, Scary and Baby respectively, were indistinguishable from one another, demurely and blandly dressed in top-to-toe black. Geri, in stark incongruity, was serenely encased in swathes of white fabric, perhaps in a misguided attempt to dispel the image of her as the black sheep of the band. Yet, the sight of Victoria alone, her impossible breasts vying for attention and chihauhua-like frame squeezed into a corset, was enough to confirm that the endearing ordinariness and outspoken, girl-next-door charm which accounted for much of the Spice Girls’ appeal has long been lost. Indeed, she is no longer the likeable and fun Posh Spice of old but rather she is one half of so-called ‘Brand Beckham’, ironically managed in this enterprise by Simon Fuller, the media svengali whom the Spice Girls notoriously sacked as their manager during their heydey. Ruthlessly dedicated to her own self-promotion, from ‘DVB’ perfumes to her personal online blog, her entire image has been strategically crafted by a team of publicists with military precision. The Spice Girls’ comeback tour is a bloated, cynical and ultimately pointless operation, not unlike ‘Brand Beckham’ itself. It’s a half-hearted resurrection of what was successful in its day; a shadow of its former self. It can only disappoint those leagues of fauxstalgia-driven fans who have come to see the Spice Girls as they once knew and loved them. Save your £85 and see Girls Aloud instead. Fauxstalgia is so last year.  By Emma Bernsteinlast_img

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