LOS ANGELES - This was not an escape from a barrel and swimming to shore moments before heading over the falls, yet coach Tom Thibideau's unique perspective made you wonder. The defensive guru certainly will take the Minnesota Timberwolves' 113-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, but a complete effort this was not. The balanced scoring was there as all five starters reached double figures, led by Karl-Anthony Towns' 21. The clutch shots that did not fall in a defeat at Memphis on Monday were present at Staples Center.
GREEN BAY — Since 2007, just 10 of the 106 teams that failed to record double-digit victories in a season (9.4 percent) qualified for the postseason. It is no wonder Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has been preaching 10 wins to his troops for several days now. That dream — and Green Bay's faint playoff chances — nearly died Sunday afternoon. But the Packers rallied for a 26-20 overtime win over Tampa Bay and kept a glimmer of hope alive to reach the postseason for a ninth straight year.
LOS ANGELES -- The third period was full of milestones for the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Marian Gaborik scored twice, the second representing the 400th goal and 800th point of his NHL career, Anze Kopitar recorded his 500th career assist, and the Kings came from behind to win their sixth consecutive game, beating the Minnesota Wild 5-2 at Staples Center. "That's probably as good a third period as we've had this year," Kings coach John Stevens said.
WASHINGTON -- Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left Washington's Monday game against the San Jose Sharks late in the second period due to an upper-body injury. Oshie was checking San Jose's Logan Couture in the corner and was falling down as the Sharks forward Joe Thornton skated in. Thornton's hip/backside sent Oshie's head into the boards. Oshie eventually skated off under his own power and went to the dressing room. Between periods, the Capitals announced Oshie would not return and would be re-evaluated Tuesday.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Center Marc Gasol scored 21 points as Memphis held on to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 95-92 Monday night at FedExForum, ending an 11-game losing streak. Minnesota shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who had a game-high 30 points, launched an off-balance 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have tied the game, but the shot missed. Memphis (8-15) won for the first time since Nov. 7 at Portland, prevailing for the first time under interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The previous head coach, David Fizdale, was fired last week.
OKLAHOMA CITY—The Oklahoma City Thunder's troublesome trend of letting second-half leads disappear looked like it was going to show itself again. The Minnesota Timberwolves cut a double-digit Thunder lead to one possession with less than a minute to play, but Paul George hit two free throws with 5.2 seconds to play as the Thunder (9-12) closed out a 111-107 win Friday night, Dec. 1, at Chesapeake Energy Arena. George had 36 points and Oklahoma City center Steven Adams had 27.
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Eric Staal scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner just past the midway point of the period, to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center. Matt Dumba's blast struck Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland on the hand and deflected to Stall for a tap-in goal at 12:05 of the period. Staal added an empty-net goal with 5.1 seconds left to seal it. With Minnesota clinging to a 1-0 lead entering the third period, the teams erupted for three goals in a 2:45 span early in the third.
MINNEAPOLIS—Dewan Huell had 23 points, and Bruce Brown Jr. had 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists as No. 10 Miami survived its first big test of the season with an 86-81 win at No. 12 Minnesota. Dejan Vasiljevic had 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range for the Hurricanes, who used their four-guard lineup and hot shooting to give the Gophers fits. Miami (6-0) shot 50.7 percent from the field, including 55.9 percent in the second half and was 10 of 25 from 3-point territory.
MINNEAPOLIS—Otto Porter Jr. scored 22 points, including the go-ahead jump shot with 25 seconds remaining, to give the Washington Wizards a come-from-behind, 92-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. Porter scored 17 of his points in the second half as Washington erased a 13-point deficit and won for the second time in six games. Leading scorer Bradley Beal was held to eight points on 2-of-11 shooting, but the bench was pivotal with the Wizards (11-9) missing John Wall for the second straight game due to an injured knee.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba—The Winnipeg Jets shook off any hangover they had from being shut out for the first time this season, routing goalie Alex Stalock and the Minnesota Wild 7-2 on Monday night. The Jets scored seven consecutive goals, with Bryan Little, Joel Armia, Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault, Blake Wheeler and Jacob Trouba connecting after Jason Zucker and Chris Stewart staked the visitors to a 2-0 lead. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 17 shots for his 13th win of the season while Stalock blocked 21 shots in the loss.