NBA

'I thought I was dreaming!' – Warriors star Wiggins reacts to All-Star selection

By Sports Desk January 28, 2022

Andrew Wiggins thought he was dreaming when he learned he had been selected to his first NBA All-Star Game as a starter for the Western Conference team.

Wiggins and Ja Morant earned their first call-ups when the starters were confirmed on Thursday, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant named as captains.

While Memphis Grizzlies guard Morant was widely expected to be picked, fellow first-time starter Wiggins was seen as a surprise selection by some.

It was clear how much the achievement meant to the Warriors forward as he spoke to reporters after the 124-115 win over his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, on Thursday.

Wiggins will join Warriors teammate Stephen Curry in representing the West when the annual midseason exhibition is held on February 20 in Cleveland.

"It was mind-blowing," Wiggins said about learning the news. 

"I was taking my pregame nap. My girl woke me up and said, 'You're a starter! You’re a starter!' – I thought I was dreaming for a second!

"It means a lot. I've been working hard in different situations and I found a home here, something that works. Hopefully I can keep it going and this is not the last one.

"There has been nothing but love [from my teammates]. As soon as I got here, in the game, this whole time, I'm sure when I go down the locker room, they will give me more love. So, it's a special feeling."

Wiggins had 19 points that included five three-pointers as the Warriors improved to 36-13 for the season and 23-4 at home by beating the Timberwolves.

They sit second in the Western Conference and Wiggins is their second-highest scorer this season with 18.1 points per game, only behind Curry (25.8).

Steve Kerr was delighted for his player, who has had to wait eight seasons for his first selection.

"One of the proudest moments just to see what Wiggs has done since he got here a couple of years go," said the Warriors coach.

"The journey he has travelled has been rocky at times, and to see how hard he's worked and to see all the work rewarded, just could not be happier for him.''

Curry had a team-high 29 points for the Warriors against Minnesota.

They have a huge game next at home to the Brooklyn Nets (26-19) on Saturday.

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    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Eastern Conference Finals will be an old-school defensive slugfest, and that he feels the best two teams made it.

    The Heat needed six games to triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics came back from 3-2 down against the Milwaukee Bucks to get the job done in Game 7.

    As a reward for getting their series out of the way early, the Heat will have five days of rest before Tuesday's Game 1, while the Celtics have just one proper rest day between series.

    Speaking to the media after Monday's practice, Spoelstra said it is shaping up as a series that will warm the heart of Heat president Pat Riley.

    "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," he said. "This is like a throwback series. 

    "If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. 

    "So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins… really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals.

    "Boston has played as well as anyone in the entire league once they got to 2022. It's not by accident. They're playing very strong basketball. They do it on both ends."

    Heat star Jimmy Butler was asked about his potential matchup against Jayson Tatum, and he had nothing but praise for the Celtics' best player.

    "He's one of the best in the game right now," he said. "As much attention as he draws on the offensive end – and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity. 

    "You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

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