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Winderman’s view: Jimmy Butler makes his stand, plus other Heat-Celtics thoughts

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Winderman’s view: Jimmy Butler makes his stand, plus other Heat-Celtics thoughts

Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 111-103 NBA playoff victory over the Boston Celtics:

– Yes, Jimmy Butler had to call it a night at halftime of Game 3.

– Yes, he hardly was his typical aggressive self in Game 4 and 5.

– No matter what the Heat did, or did not, offer on their injury report, the issue there is real.

– The knee, or something connected to the knee, has not been right.

– But this effort also showed plenty of who Butler is and what he is for this team.

– With his team facing elimination, he mustered.

– In the scoring column.

– On the boards.

– With his passing.

– And on the defensive end.

– The 2020 bubble seemed to be the height of playoff Jimmy, in that Heat run to the NBA Finals.

– But what these efforts, particularly Friday’s, show is that there still is plenty there.

– Even as some point to his age.

– Or the remaining years on his contract.

– He remains a force.

– LeBron James once walked into this arena in must-win Game 6 and showed out.

– Considering Butler’s bum knee, the mere fact he showed up with this type of effort showed plenty.

– Too many years left on a contract that run through the 36th birthday?

– Not an argument on this night.

– Just a study in perseverance.

–True to his word at the morning shootaround, Heat coach Spoelstra stayed with his starting lineup of Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Butler, Kyle Lowry and Max Strus.

– Even with Lowry slowed by his hamstring strain.

– Even with Strus arguably entering amid his worst NBA slump.

– With the start, Tucker moved past Giannis Antetokounmpo for 99th on the NBA all-time playoff list.

– With their starts, Butler and Lowry moved past Buck Williams for 77th on the NBA all-time playoff list and tied Kevin Johnson for 76th.

– With his start, Adebayo tied Shaquille O’Neal for seventh on the Heat all-time playoff list.

– The Celtics opened with their when-healthy usual of Al Horford, Robert Williams III, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

– A pair of quick Tucker fouls had Caleb Martin entering as the Heat’s first reserve.

– Gabe Vincent then followed.

– Then Duncan Robinson, in the wake of the Heat’s 5-of-8 start from the field.

– With Victor Oladio entering at the start of the second period, making it nine deep.

– Which left Dewayne Dedmon again removed from the equation, as also was the case in Game 5.

– Lowry’s first assist came 71 seconds in. He did not have one in Wednesday night’s Game 5.

– He then converted a 3-pointer with 9:02 to play in the opening period, his first points in two games.

– Lowry’s first assist moved him past Sam Cassell for 45th on the NBA all-time playoff list. His third moved him past Julius Erving for 44th.

– Butler’s second point moved him past Sam Perkins for 77th on the NBA all-time playoff list.

– Butler’s first 3-point attempt moved him past former Heat guard Mario Chalmers for 76th on the NBA all-time playoff list.

– Butler’s third assist moved him past Pau Gasol for 71st on the NBA all-time playoff list.

– Butler’s 17th point moved him past Hal Greer for 75th on the NBA all-time playoff list.

– Butler’s second free-throw attempt moved him past Chris Paul for 59th on the NBA all-time playoff list.

– Spoelstra was asked pregame about the success of the Celtics with the short roll of guard Derrick White.

– “Yeah, you just have to have ultra-awareness on the weak side,” he said. “It’s almost like you have to visualize that he’s a 7-footer. You would never allow a 7-footer just to go untouched through the lane. So it’s just a different dynamic.”

– Spoelstra added, “We’ve been able to manage that before. Most teams eventually do get to that against us, particularly in the playoffs.”

– Considering the Celtics were down 3-2 before eliminating the Bucks in the previous round, Celtics coach Ime Udoka was taking nothing for granted.

– “We’ve been in this position before, Game 6 against Milwaukee,” he said pregame. “We understand Miami’s mindset coming out. Have to match that intensity, sense of urgency and physicality they’re going to bring.”

– He added, “We’ve talked about being the hunted – the hunter, earlier in the series against Milwaukee. Now we’re on the other side.”

– Udoka did not exactly reminisce pregame about being in 11th place in the East as late as Jan. 16, but he did take time to reflect.

– “We weren’t even thinking that far down the road honestly. We were thinking about getting healthy, understanding the system we were trying to put in place,” he said. “We always had glimpses of success. We were just trying to be consistent for the most part, understanding that we were really good defensively all along. Offensively trying to get our guys on the same page, get them to understand what we needed from them. That was the goal at that point.”

– He added, “But we did see good things early on at times. Just up and down, inconsistent a little bit. But we were always optimistic if we got healthy and our defense would carry over, offensively we’d continue to improve. The good signs were we played really good against the big teams. We had some poor losses against some of the lesser teams. For the most part we were competing against the best teams. That bodes well for the future.”

– David Ortiz was among those in the crowd.

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

For so much of the second half, Minnesota looked comfortable and ready to take a much-needed victory.

Shockingly, Inter Miami, the second-worst goal-scoring team in MLS notched two goals in the final three minutes to flip the script and take a 2-1 victory in the first MLS meeting between the two teams.

“[We] put ourselves in a great spot,” manager Adrian Heath said. “Put ourselves in a really good position. We’re not doing enough, it doesn’t look as though it’s enough to concede goals and lose games.”

Inter Miami forward Indiana Vassilev only made it into the game as a late-game bench substitution, but he made the most of his opportunity scoring in the 87th and 90th minute to give his team a victory, surpassing Minnesota’s one-goal lead it held since the 65th minute.

The Loons’ defense had kept Minnesota in the game for each chance Inter Miami had for the first 86 minutes, but the team couldn’t get the stops near the end to come up with the victory.

“At those times of the game, you need to do whatever you can to just beat your man,” Loons defender Michael Boxall said.

Minnesota’s victory looked nearly locked up as the Loons held the 1-0 difference into the final five minutes of the game. That goal followed a resilient start to the second half after many chances weren’t finished.

The Minnesota goal scorer was Luis Amarilla, who put the ball past the Inter Miami goalkeeper in tight in the 65th minute. It was his first goal in MLS play since March 19.

Amarilla was in such a position to score the goal so close to the keeper because of an acrobatic one-touch centering pass from Franco Fragapane. The play all began from Emmanuel Reynoso getting the ball on the right side of the attacking zone. He cut towards the middle and sent a lofting kick that found the airborne Fragapane for his assist.

While Minnesota finally found the back of the net in the back half of the game, there was no shortage of missed opportunities earlier in the contest.

“We’re not good enough at one end, and we’re not good enough at the other, and that’s not a good recipe,” Heath said. “We’ve got to get more and more determination to get on the things in the box and we’ve certainly got to defend the goal better.”

By the end of the game, Inter Miami had eight shots on target, while Minnesota had just one, the Amarilla goal.

The loss marks the first since Minnesota announced Heath’s two-year contract extension through 2024 on Thursday. The defeat also adds to a 1-6-1 stretch over the Loons’ last eight games, including Saturday night.

Heath said on Wednesday that the goal was to come away with four points in this road trip at Inter Miami on Saturday and on Wednesday at L.A. Galaxy. With the loss to Inter Miami, that goal is no longer possible.

The Loons must keep looking forward to get back on track and into playoff contention. After the loss on Saturday, Minnesota sits 11th in the Western Conference Standings, five points outside of the seventh spot, the cutoff for the playoffs.

“The good thing is that it’s a quick turnaround,” Boxall said. “Not quite looking ahead to L.A. just yet, we still need to process this game and figure out what we need to address, because that should be three points we’re taking home tonight.”

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

Puffy white clouds filled the blue skies above Target Field and sunlight bounced off buildings that make up the Minneapolis skyline. It was the kind of summer night at the ballpark that Minnesotans dream about throughout the long winter months.

It was the perfect night at Target Field and the hometown team, well, they were nearly perfect, too. Twins pitchers gave up just one hit (and five walks), and the team captured a first-inning lead on its way to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Target Field.

A day after getting shut out for the 10th time this season, tying the league lead, Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton made sure early on that the Twins wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Arraez snapped an 0-for-11 stretch to begin the game and Buxton, back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, followed that up with his first triple since 2019.

After missing time this week after his knee flared up, Buxton turned on the burners, with a sprint speed of 29.3 feet/second (30 ft/sec is elite) on the triple, losing his helmet along the way. When he reached the base, he pounded his chest a couple times, smacked his hands together and let out a roar.

While the Twins left Buxton on third, they added on throughout the game, tacking on a run in the second on Arraez’s second hit of the game, two more in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Alex Kirilloff drove in three of those runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a double off the right field wall, bringing home Max Kepler — who walked three times in the game — and Kyle Garlick. The double was his fourth in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A.

All that offense came in support of Chris Archer, who worked five innings and allowed just one hit — a single to former Twin C.J. Cron in the second inning — and a walk in his outing.  Archer pitched out of that second-inning jam, retiring the next three batters in a row, the first of 12 straight that he sent down to conclude his start.

His start was followed by a scoreless inning each from Jharel Cotton and Griffin Jax and two from Tyler Thornburg. Twins pitchers have now thrown two shutouts in their past three games, and in Friday’s loss, they gave up just one run.

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

1858: Joseph Israel Lobdell, born Lucy Lobdell, is arrested for “impersonating a man.” A judge in the rural camp community of Forest City, Minn., sided with Lobdell, ruling that he did not act unlawfully.

1877: Minneapolis rules crossdressing as illegal, putting gender-nonconforming Minnesotans at risk for imprisonment.

1969: The Stonewall riots begin in New York City after police raids occur in the gay-friendly bars and community spaces of Lower Manhattan. These riots serve as a public turning point in American LGBTQ+ history.

May 18, 1969: University of Minnesota alumni found Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, or FREE, the first LGBTQ+ rights organization in the state. Founders Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first same-sex couple in the nation to apply for a marriage license, an application that is rejected by Hennepin County. Their legal case is dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in one sentence.

1972: The first Twin Cities Pride celebration is held in Minneapolis’ Loring Park.

Dec. 9, 1972: Minnesota state Sen. Allan Henry Spear indicates he is gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, making him the first openly gay state legislator in the United States.

June 1982: Bruce Brockway becomes the first documented recipient of an HIV diagnosis in Minnesota. After his diagnosis, he founded the Minnesota AIDS Project to provide resources to HIV-positive Minnesotans.

1993: Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is outlawed in Minnesota, making it the first state in the nation to adopt the policy.

1997: Sicaŋgu Lakota man Nicholas Metcalf and his partner, Korean-American Edd Lee, found the Minnesota Men of Color, an organization that focuses on the well-being of men, women and gender-nonconforming people of color.

2012: Amendment 1, which limits marriage rights to only heterosexual couples, is rejected by the majority of Minnesota voters. Same-sex marriage is legalized in the state.

June 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finding that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in any state and must be recognized nationally. Gay marriage is legalized.

June 25-26, 2022: After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, the Twin Cities Pride parade and festival returns to Minneapolis.

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