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The first six games of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2020-21 campaign have raised a lot of questions.

Can D’Angelo Russell be a leader? Will Ricky Rubio gel with his new teammates? Can Jarrett Culver make the next step?

One thing that is clear, though, is second-year center Naz Reid belongs in the NBA.

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Reid left LSU after one collegiate season only to surprisingly go undrafted in 2019. After signing a two-way deal with the Wolves — which quickly turned into a multiyear deal — Reid made his NBA debut last season and averaged 9.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 30 contests.

In 2020-21, however, it appears Reid has elevated his game again. He’s started three of the last four games and has registered 13.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 57.9% from the field. He’s been a big reason why the Timberwolves rank second in the NBA with 49.6% of their points scored inside the paint.

Dating back to last season, Reid has scored double-digit points in nine of his last 12 contests. His numbers have taken a big jump in that span, increasing from 8.1 points over his first 24 career games to 11.9 points per contest over the last 12. He’s also doubled his rebounding numbers — 3.1 to 6.2 per game.

The Wolves miss the injured Karl-Anthony Towns badly, but at least they have Reid in the frontcourt.

Reid and Minnesota will look to snap a nine-game losing streak to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. The last time the Wolves defeated Denver was April 11, 2018 — the win that broke a tie for the No. 8 seed and catapulted Minnesota into the postseason.

NOTABLE

— Minnesota has allowed 100+ points in 36 consecutive contests, which is the sixth-longest streak in the NBA since 2000-01. The New Orleans Pelicans own the longest streak in that span at 53 games.

— Jamal Murray notched his fifth career game with 35+ points and at least a 65% field-goal percentage in Denver’s 124-109 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

— D’Angelo Russell is shooting better as the game goes on. In the first quarter, Russell is shooting 22.2% from 3-point range and owns an effective field-goal percentage of 36.0%. In the fourth quarter, those numbers increase to a 60% 3-point clip and 60.7% EFG.

— The leader in assists per game? Denver’s 7-foot center Nikola Jokic with 12.8 per contest. It’s early, but Jokic is on pace to set a new assists record for 7-footers. Wilt Chamberlain currently owns the title with 8.6 assists per game for Philadelphia in 1967-68.

Statistics courtesy Sportradar



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Canelo Alvarez next fight: Mexican superstar expected to face Avni Yildirim at super middleweight in February

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Canelo Alvarez is ready for his next challenge. The unified super middleweight champion is expected to take on Avni Yildirim — the WBC mandatory challenger — on Feb. 27, Canelo’s trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, told Boxing Scene. According to both The Athletic and Sports Illustrated, the fight is expected to take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. 

Alvarez claimed the WBA and vacant WBC super middleweight titles on Dec. 19 with a decision win over Callum Smith in Texas. The pound-for-pound great had been out of action for nearly a year due to the pandemic as well as contractual disputes with Golden Boy Promotions and streaming partner DAZN. Alvarez reached a deal with both in the fall to become a free agent and open up the possibility of fighting whomever he wants. 

Sports Illustrated’s report notes that this is the first matchup in a multi-fight deal between Alvarez and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, who promoted Alvarez’s recent win over Smith. Under this agreement, the expectation is that Alvarez would face Billy Joe Saunders at 168 pounds in May. 

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Yildirim, the 29-year-old from Turkey, has only lost twice as a pro. That includes his most recent bout against Anthony Dirrell in February 2019 when an accident headbutt in the 10th round ended the fight and sent it to the judges’ scorecards. Yilidirim lost on points. His only other loss came in his only other bout against higher-level competition when he was knocked out by Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017.



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England in Sri Lanka 2021

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Joe Root is backing his young openers to come through the tough initiation of a maiden Test tour of Asia stronger for the experience.

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both failed to reach double figures in either innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle and both fell to spin, the same spinner in fact, each time.

Sibley got a faint edge to a ball from left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya which drifted in and spun away slightly for a slips catch while on 4 in the first innings before Crawley chipped to mid-off for 9. On 2 in the second innings, Sibley appeared stunned by Embuldeniya’s arm ball which took the top of off stump, and Crawley fell for 8 to an ill-conceived drive taken at gully.

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED | FOX Sports

Colin Cowherd discusses why it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts to go big in this year’s draft to find their franchise quarterback after Philip Rivers’ decision to retire. Hear why Colin believes the Colts should potentially trade up for the Miami Dolphins #3 overall pick after their announcement to stick with Tua Tagovailoa.

AN HOUR AGO・NFL・5:32

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