Fiala on fire: Wild’s young forward erupting on offense

Kevin Fiala, Wild forward (⬆️ UP)

“Red hot” would be an understatement. Fiala has tallied at least one point in five straight games and multiple points in four of them. It all started with a two-goal performance Feb. 4 in a win over Chicago. Then Fiala registered two points against Vancouver, one assist against Dallas, two points at home against Colorado and one goal and two assists in the Wild’s 4-0 shutout of Vegas on Tuesday night. We did the math: that’s five goals and five assists in the last five games. The hot streak has Fiala just 10 points away from matching a career-best 48 that he set as a 21-year-old playing for Nashville in 2017-18. Oh, and his goal against Colorado was nasty.

 

Gersson Rosas, Timberwolves president of basketball operations (⬆️ UP)

What a week for the Wolves. Staring at his first trade deadline at the helm of the Timberwolves (not to mention a 13-game losing streak), Rosas made one of the biggest trades in franchise history by sending Andrew Wiggins and draft picks to Golden State in exchange for coveted guard D’Angelo Russell and a pair of role players. It continued Rosas’ complete overhaul of the Wolves’ roster. Nine — yes, nine — players from the Timberwolves’ opening day roster have been traded: Wiggins, Robert Covington, Jeff Teague, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Napier, Keita Bates-Diop, Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham and Noah Vonleh. Sheesh. Anyway, the new era of Wolves basketball got off to a booming start by beating down the Los Angeles Clippers — a favorite to make the NBA Finals – 142-115 via a franchise-best 26 3-pointers at home Saturday night.

 

Malik Beasley, Wolves guard (⬆️ UP)

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary from the Timberwolves’ roster overhaul (besides season-ticket holders) is Beasley, the 23-year-old guard in his fourth NBA season. Buried on Denver’s deep roster of guards, Beasley never had an opportunity to truly show what he could do with the Nuggets. Beasley played 30+ minutes in just 24 games over 3+ seasons with Denver. He scored 15+ points in 15 of 24 of those contests and drained multiple 3s in 20 of them. Now starting with the Wolves, Beasley is getting more than a fair shot. He went off for 23 points on a career-best seven 3-pointers Saturday night. Then, Beasley poured in 15 points, four rebounds and one steal Monday night against Toronto. It’s already obvious that Beasley is a perfect fit in head coach Ryan Saunders’ system that favors the 3-ball.

 

Winter weather (⬇️ DOWN)

Load up on the sunscreen and book those spray tans because spring training is finally here. Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers reported to sunny Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning. We report to spring training Feb. 23 (11 days away!) to televise an exhibition game between the Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays from CenturyLink Sports Complex.

 

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, Twins brass (⬆️ UP)

As the Twins head into spring training, we’re going to take a minute to give the Twins’ brass a few pats on the back. Although it started quietly, Falvey and Levine put together a nice offseason and greatly improved the Twins’ already impressive roster. Moves like the signing of Josh Donaldson to a franchise-record $92 million deal and trading away a coveted prospect in Brusdar Graterol for consistent starting pitching (the team’s biggest need) signify this team is all-in on 2020. And that’s really, really exciting.

 

Amir Coffey, former Gophers guard (⬆️ UP)

The former Hopkins High School star returned to the Target Center — the venue where he won a state championship in 2016 — on Saturday night as a member of the Clippers. A two-way player with Los Angeles, Coffey made his NBA debut on Dec. 31, scored his first career points on Jan. 4. On Saturday night, Coffey tallied four points on 2-of-6 shooting in front of the hometown crowd. He went on to pour in a career-best 10 points on one day later in Los Angeles’ rout of Cleveland.