Derrick Rose had played in 32 games before Friday, and in 15 of those he had eclipsed 30 minutes of playing time. Now that Ryan Saunders is controlling the minute distribution and not Tom Thibodeau, you can expect Rose’s maximum total to hover around that number — and not go sailing by it as it did from time to time under Thibodeau.
Rose made his return to the lineup Friday after missing the previous six games because of a right ankle injury. In the 119-115 loss to Dallas, Rose played 27 minutes, 30 seconds, scoring 21 points.
The last time Rose played, he injured his ankle playing nearly 39 minutes against Atlanta.
“I think he understands where my body is,” Rose said. “We’re both on the same page about that. So it should be somewhere around [30 minutes].”
Each time Rose has played more than 38 minutes this season, he has either missed the next game or left the next game early because of an injury. He has missed nine games total but has been effective when on the floor, averaging 18.9 points per game.
Rose wasn’t sure he would play Saturday against New Orleans.
“If it was up to me, I wouldn’t want to miss any games,” he said. “But I really have to be smart with what’s going on and listen to my body.”
Rose’s usage rate of 25.1 percent entering Friday was second-highest on the team behind Karl-Anthony Towns. That means 25.1 percent of Wolves possessions ended with Rose attempting a shot, committing a turnover or going to the free-throw line when Rose is on the floor. Towns said there’s no worry over having to sacrifice to make sure Rose gets his share of touches now that he is back in the lineup.
“I’m not too worried about all of us finding a way to make it all work,” Towns said. “With his usage rate high, it was never a problem with any of us. We loved his usage rate was the way it was. It put a lot of pressure on the defense and opened up a lot of holes for us on the offensive end.”
Home and home
The Wolves are used to playing back-to-back games on their schedule, but the set they are playing Friday and Saturday is a little different — both games are at home. Typically when the Wolves or other NBA teams play on back-to-back nights one or both of those games involve travel. But the Wolves have three sets of back-to-backs at home, beginning with this weekend. It’s a mixed blessing for the players, who don’t like playing on consecutive nights, but at least they can sleep in their own beds.
“I like playing at home and I wish we could play more games at home,” center Gorgui Dieng said.
Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t announced this will be his final season, but the 40-year-old Dallas forward hasn’t played much this season; Friday was only his 12th game, and he went scoreless, missing all four shot attempts.
He is averaging only 10.2 minutes per game. Friday might be the last time Nowitzki makes an appearance at Target Center.
“He’s a legend. First-ballot Hall of Famer,” Saunders said. “The things he’s done for the league, he’s really transcended the league with how he shoots the ball with his range and just how he plays, how he carries himself.”