MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Twins in Chicago to face the White Sox for Opening Day
CHICAGO, IL -- Coming up this afternoon another season of Minnesota Twins baseball gets underway. The Twins will open up the 2014 season at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago with a 3:10 p.m. game against the White Sox. Ricky Nolasco takes the mound for the Twins in his third career Opening Day start. He joined the Twins over the off season on a four-year, $49 million deal. In his two previous Opening Day starts Nolasco has an ERA of 5.25. He'll face Chris Sale for Chicago who will make his second straight Opening Day start. Last season he made his second straight All-Star appearance and last year set a franchise record for lefty starters with 226 strike-outs.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 114-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. Joe Johnson added 19 points, Andray Blatche scored 14 and Mason Plumlee finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for the Nets, who matched a franchise record with their 13th straight win at home. Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson also scored 13 points for Brooklyn, which still trails Toronto by 2 1/2 games in the Atlantic Division standings after the Raptors defeated Orlando on Sunday. The Nets won 13 straight at home twice during the 2001-2002 season. Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer scored 21 points apiece in the setback and Kevin Love finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had won two straight entering the contest.
The Wolves had their two game win streak snapped last night with their loss in Brooklyn and now return home to face the Los Angeles Clippers. Minnesota has won two straight at home including a walloping of the Lakers on Friday night when the Wolves came out on top 143-107. The Clippers are coming off a Saturday night win in Houston to run their win streak to two in a row. They've also lost just twice in their past 17 games. Tip is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Target Center.
The Wild are coming off their biggest win of the season on Saturday night when they beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 at Jobbing.com Arena. Zach Parise had a pair of goals in that game while Jared Spurgeon provided the other marker. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 23 as he got the start. The Win gave the Wild 87 points in the Western Conference and put three points between them and the Coyotes. Wild are in 7th place, Coyotes three back in 8th, Dallas in 9th place and trailing the Wild by 4. Tonight's game will be the third stop in a four game road trip. The Wild and Kings have split their season series at a game a piece so far with each team winning in the shootout on the road. Game time tonight is set for 9 p.m. central time.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers face the Florida State Seminoles in the semifinals of the NIT tomorrow at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Gophers knocked off Southern Miss 81-73 in the quarterfinals last Tuesday. FSU beat Louisiana Tech 78-75 to advance. SMU and Clemson will meet in the other semifinal.
Justin Kloos scored twice and Adam Wilcox made 24 saves to help the top-seeded Gophers beat St. Cloud State 4-0 on Sunday night in the NCAA West Regional final at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota (27-6-6) will face North Dakota in the Frozen Four semifinals in Philadelphia on April 10. Boston College will play Union in the other semifinal.
Here are the NCAA Division I men's hockey pairings and results in the NCAA Tournament:
Saturday: No. 1 Minnesota 7, Robert Morris 3
Saturday: St. Cloud State 4, Notre Dame 3
Sunday: Championship: Minnesota 4, St. Cloud State 0
Saturday: Massachusetts-Lowell 2, Minnesota State-Mankato 1
Saturday: No. 2 Boston College 6, Denver 2
Sunday: Massachuestts-Lowell 3, Boston College 4
Friday: North Dakota 5, No. 4 Wisconsin 2 (final)
Friday: Ferris State 1, Colgate 0 (final)
Saturday: Regional Final--North Dakota 2, Ferris State 1
Friday: No. 3 Union 5, Vermont 2 (final)
Friday: Providence 4, Quinnipiac 0 (final)
Saturday: Regional Final--Providence 3, Union 1