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MINNEAPOLIS — Eighty-one games boil down to the finale for the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Win and in.

Months of play have led to Wednesday’s final regular-season game between the two teams in Minnesota. Wednesday’s winner will go to the playoffs. The loser will start its offseason. There are different seeding possibilities for the winner in the packed Western Conference standings but a win is the only thing that matters for now.

“I just want to clinch it [url=http://www.dolphinscheapstore.com/durham-smythe-jersey-cheap]Durham Smythe Jersey[/url] ,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said after Monday’s victory against Memphis. “Tonight, Wednesday, whenever it is. Just get it done. We talked about finishing. That’s been our thing. Just finish. And whatever way we have to get there, let’s get there.”

Thibodeau was talking to reporters before Denver had finished its game on Monday night to set up Wednesday’s showdown. The Nuggets came from behind to beat Portland 88-82.

“Our guys stepped up and understood the urgency of the situation,” Denver coach Mike Malone told the team’s website.

Two weeks ago, the season coming down to the final game was unlikely. Minnesota was playing without All-Star Jimmy Butler and fading down the stretch. When the Wolves lost 100-96 at Denver on April 5, it was their final game without Butler and ended a 6-9 stretch.

Minnesota has won the past two games with Butler back in the lineup after knee surgery.

Monday’s win against Portland was the Nuggets’ sixth in a row.

“We’ve got to go to Minnesota,” Denver swingman Will Barton told the team’s website, “and get the job done.”

It will be a different matchup than even six days earlier. Butler didn’t play in that game. Still on a minutes restriction, Butler played 22:58 in Monday’s win and had 15 points, three steals and three assists.

However, forward Taj Gibson left Monday’s game early with a sore neck and is questionable for Wednesday.

“We’ll see [url=http://www.ravenscheapstores.com/kenneth-dixon-jersey-cheap]Kenneth Dixon Jersey[/url] ,” Thibodeau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Gibson’s availability. “Based on what he did today, we’ll see how he feel tomorrow. If he’s not (in), we have more than enough. We just need guys to step and get it done.”

Gibson, like Butler, has been a backbone-type player in his first season with the ‘Wolves.

“I hope so,” guard Jamal Crawford told the Star Tribune about Gibson playing. “To be honest, Taj is the heart and soul of our team. Everybody talks about everybody else for good reason, but he’s the guy who’s the rock of our team. Knowing Taj, I would put my money that he plays, I hope.”

The Nuggets got back guard Gary Harris on Monday after he missed 11 games with a knee injury. He had 12 points and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench.

“He didn’t play like a player that missed 25 days,” Malone told the team’s website.

While Minnesota is sitting on a 13-season playoff drought, Gibson knows the intensity that will come Wednesday after having experienced a win-and-in regular-season finale in 2010 with the Bulls. Teammate Derrick Rose also was on that Chicago team.

“We’ve been through this before [url=http://www.raiderscheapstore.com/fred-biletnikoff-jersey-cheap]Fred Biletnikoff Jersey[/url] ,” Gibson told the Star Tribune. “It all comes down to knowing your opponent and wanting it even more. Understanding the last game with Denver didn’t sit right with us.”

Butler has pushed his team all season. He has one more in the regular season.

“A win can control our own destiny,” he told the Star Tribune. “We’ve got a game on Wednesday anyway. No matter what, we’re going in there to win.”

NFL owners approved a new policy aimed at quelling the firestorm over national anthem protests sparked by Colin Kaepernick and polarized by President Trump, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the ”The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but even that was up for debate.

The head of the San Francisco 49ers – Kaepernick’s former team – said his franchise abstained from the vote. CEO Jed York said he wasn’t comfortable with a process that didn’t directly involve the players.

”I want to work with my team to make sure everything we do is about promoting the right types of social justice reform and getting to a better America,” York said.

The NFL Players Association said it wasn’t consulted about the new policy and would challenge any changes that violate the collective bargaining agreement.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – A Santa Clara County judge ruled that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will not have to stand trial on domestic violence charges after determining there was no evidence that Foster ever hit his ex-girlfriend.

Judge Nona Klippen said prosecutors didn’t meet the burden of probable cause on charges of felony domestic violence and forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness.

Foster was also charged with felony possession of an assault weapon after officers found a Sig Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle in his home while investigating his ex-girlfriend’s domestic violence report. That charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

The 49ers have not allowed Foster to take part in the offseason program while he dealt with these charges and general manager John Lynch had said he would be cut from the team if it was determined that he hit a woman. Foster will be allowed back Thursday now that the domestic violence charges have been dropped.

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Richie Incognito, the NFL offensive lineman who was once suspended for bullying a teammate, was taken into custody Wednesday for psychiatric examination after an incident at a Florida gym.

Boca Raton police spokeswoman Jessica Desir said officers received a call Wednesday morning from a patron at Life Time Gym about a disturbance involving Incognito. He was taken into custody under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows for involuntary psychiatric commitment for people seen as a danger to themselves or others. She did not have details about the disturbance.

The 34-year-old Incognito announced this year that he was retiring after 11 seasons in the NFL, the last three with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills released him from their reserved/retired list on Monday [url=http://www.patriotscheapstore.com/julian-edelman-jersey-cheap]Julian Edelman Jersey[/url] , leaving open the possibility he could sign with another team.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) – Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has apologized to Bucks player Sterling Brown for a January arrest that started with a parking violation and escalated to include the use of a stun gun, and he said some officers were disciplined.

Brown, who is African-American, says the incident was ”an attempt at police intimidation” and that it ”shouldn’t happen to anybody.” Meanwhile, community groups in Milwaukee are weighing in, too – criticizing police for how they handled Brown.

Morales’ apology on Wednesday came as police released body-camera footage that showed how a simple interaction over an illegally parked car quickly escalated. The video represents another setback for a department that for years has tried to rebuild its image and relationship with Milwaukee’s black residents after several high-profile cases of police misconduct.

Police did not identify the races of the officers, but most of the officers in the video appeared to be white.

ATHLETE ABUSE

WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawmakers used an emotionally charged House subcommittee hearing to get answers about what they portrayed as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s slow-moving, underfunded response to a steadily widening sex-abuse scandal in Olympic sports.

CEO Shellie Pfohl of the U.S. Center for SafeSport spoke during a hearing that had one representative choking back tears and another screaming at the witnesses.

Pfohl told lawmakers that when the office opened in 2017, it received 20 to 30 calls a month. She said in the wake of the (hash)MeToo movement and the Larry Nassar sentencing, it’s increased to 20 to 30 per week.

Despite the widening workload, the center has only 12 investigators and operates on an annual budget of $4.3 million.

Pfohl said she’s always in search of more money. The USOC’s acting CEO, Susanne Lyons [url=http://www.billscheapstore.com/micah-hyde-jersey-cheap]Micah Hyde Jersey[/url] , conceded seven years was too long to get the center up and running.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Sports coaches, the types of paid employees who allegedly learned Larry Nassar was molesting gymnasts and other athletes before the sexual abuse scandal broke, would still not be required to report such suspected abuse to the authorities under a watered-down proposal to expand Michigan’s mandatory reporting law.

A state House committee passed a bill that would add physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and – in a reversal from a day earlier – athletic trainers to the list of mandatory reporters. But it drew swift criticism for still backing away from Senate-passed legislation that also would require college employees, coaches and volunteers to report abuse, citing cost concerns, unintended consequences and other issues.

Sen. Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican, said he would move to add paid coaches in his commit [url=http://www.officialusafootballs.com/miami-dolphins/daniel-kilgore-jersey]Authentic Womens Daniel Kilgore Jersey[/url]



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