The Los Angeles Lakers face off with the Minnesota Timberwolves in circumstances for a game that is often overlooked on the NBA schedule. The All-Star break will officially begin on Friday, giving the majority of the league a short reprieve to rest up and recover from a long NBA season.
The Timberwolves, however, are making sure this will be no ordinary night by honoring the late Flip Saunders. Saunders, who had been Minnesota’s head coach and president, passed away in October 2015 due to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Saunders spent most of his professional coaching career at the helm of the Timberwolves, though he also had stops with the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. The Timberwolves will honor his legacy by wearing special tribute shoes during their game against the Lakers.
Afterward, the shoes will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Flip Saunders Legacy Fund, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
FIRST LOOK: For Flip Saunders Night tomorrow night, the @Timberwolves have commissioned @Kickstradomis to make these custom tribute shoes for its players. Will be auctioned off after game with proceeds going to the Flip Saunders Legacy Fund. pic.twitter.com/aBytEyYWD6
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 14, 2018
It’s never easy to lose such an integral member of a franchise. Saunders was part of some of the most successful seasons in Timberwolves history, including the classic 2003-04 season that saw Minnesota lose in the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers in six games.
Given the significance of the night, the Lakers will have a very tough task on their hands against an already talented Timberwolves squad. Los Angeles will be on the second night of a back-to-back on the road after a blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
They will have to try to recuperate quickly if they hope to steal a win in Minnesota before heading out for their well-deserved break.
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