Staff Directory 10646291

Jerry Zgoda

Reporter | Timberwolves, NBA
phone: 612-673-7197
Jerry has been a Star Tribune sportswriter so long, his first beat directly out of college was covering the North Stars. In nearly 30 years, he has covered the NHL, the Wolves and the NBA twice (he missed the first Kevin Garnett era, which says something about his sense of timing), Gophers and NCAA athletics, the radio/TV beat, major-championship golf and outdoor recreation. Follow @JerryZgoda
Recent content from Jerry Zgoda
Rick Brunson

Brunson resigns as Wolves assistant; agent denies improper conduct

An NBA source said that assistant coach Rick Brunson had been the subject of complaints that he behaved improperly toward women.
Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler (23) celebrated when the Wolves clicnhed their first playoff berth in 14 years in the final

Keeping Butler, Towns key as Wolves attack their next steps

Signing Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns to contract extensions while surrounding them with more talent under salary-cap rules will challenge Wolves' management.
Andrew Wiggins

Thibodeau expects more from Wiggins

The Wolves coach thinks the young guard's last offseason was clouded by contract issues.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife, Becky, watched an October game at Target Center.

Wolves met Taylor's expectations, but he knows they can be better

Despite making the playoffs and having 18 sellouts at Target Center, the owner hoped for home-court advantage.
Rockets forward PJ Tucker, left, drives to the basket as Timberwolves forward Taj Gibsondefends during the first half of Game 5

Season gives Wolves peek into what their future should hold

By whatever evaluation, the Wolves' 47-victory regular season and first-round, five-game playoff loss to Houston were important experiences for a franchise that hadn't made the postseason since 2004.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is cornered by Rockets guard James Harden and forward PJ Tucker during the first half of Game 5

Season over: Another third-quarter collapse buries Wolves in Game 5

Houston's 30-15 advantage in the third quarter of Game 5 wasn't as massive as its 50-point barrage on Monday. But it erased Minnesota's halftime lead and ended the season for the Wolves.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler, right, and Cole Aldrich walk off the court after the Wolves' 122-104 loss to the Rockets in Game 5

Game 5 seen as a test of growth for Timberwolves

"We've grown a lot from the beginning to now," Wolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns said.
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) is defended by Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler (23) in the third quarter in Game 4 of their series Monday, April 23, 201

Harden recovers quickly from poor shooting night vs. Wolves

James Harden scored 22 points all by himself in Monday's third quarter, less than a week after he went 2-for-18
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) is defended by Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler (23) in the third quarter in Game 4 of their series Monday, April 23, 201

Quarter pounded with 3's: Houston buries Wolves with 50-point quarter

Leading by only a point at halftime, the Rockets outscored the Wolves 50-20 in the third quarter, including seven three pointers by Houston star James Harden.
The Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins, left, and Karl-Anthony Towns watched as the game ended Monday.

Unbowed Wolves eager to put hard Game 4 defeat behind them

The Wolves said their confidence had not been dented. "Absolutely not," Karl-Anthony Towns said. "We will be ready [for Game 5]."
Jimmy Butler (23) reacted after hitting a three-pointer during the third quarter of Game 3.

Can the Wolves win Game 4 by winning the battle of threes again?

Keeping pace with Houston's notorious three-point shooting gives the Wolves a fighting chance in the playoff series that resumes at Target Center tonight.
The Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler celebrates with fans after making a three pointer in the fourth quarter of Game 3 at Target Center.

Long time coming: Wolves erupt at home for 121-105 Game 3 victory over Rockets

The Timberwolves treated Target Center fans to quite the show in the first home playoff game in 14 years: A blowout victory.
Jeff Teague shoots between the Rockets' Chris Paul, left, and Clint Capela during the second half in Game 1

What happened to the offense? Wolves search for playoff answers

Houston's defense has turned the Wolves upside-down in the first two games of the NBA playoffs. Can they find answers before Saturday's game at Target Center?
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was not a factor on either end for the second consecutive game. He scored five points — all in the first quarter.

Paul delivers for Houston to take 2-0 lead, Towns quiet again for Wolves

Houston's Chris Paul came back from a six-turnover performance in Game 1, delivering an acrobatic 27-point, eight-assist night for the Rockets while Karl-Anthony Towns finished with just five points for the Wolves.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden

Off days work to coaches' advantage for Wolves, Rockets

With no back-to-back games in the playoffs, star players can see more minutes.
Karl-Anthony Towns, left, had only eight points Sunday in Game 1 while James Harden, a strong NBA MVP candidate, scored 44.

Missing in action: Wolves need Towns more involved vs. Rockets

Held to eight points in Game 1 vs. Houston, Karl-Anthony Towns spoke repeatedly Tuesday about maintaining "discipline" and following "the game plan."
Minnesota Timberwolves' Derrick Rose drives around Houston Rockets' Gerald Green during the first half in Game 1 Sunday in Houston.

Foul trouble forced Wolves to rely on Rose in Game 1 loss

Seven years ago, Derrick Rose was coming off a league MVP season just as Butler was entering the NBA as a rookie. Now it's all changed.
James Harden and Chris Paul have been dynamic for the Rockets this season.

Harden's MVP-like performance in Game 1 overwhelms the Wolves

Rockets superstar James Harden toyed with the Timberwolves often Sunday, scoring 25 of his 44 points in the game's final 18 minutes while making seven three-pointers.
Rockets guard James Harden evaded the defense of the Wolves’ Gorgui Dieng for a layup Sunday.

Too much Harden, too little Towns sends Wolves to Game 1 loss

James Harden scored 44 points on 15-for-24 shooting in leading the Rockets to a 104-101 victory while Karl-Anthony Towns took only nine shots and scored eight points.
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns made 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts during the regular season — a stat well known to James Harden, right,

Rockets takes away what makes Towns special to Wolves

The NBA playoffs are all about deciding what to give the opponent and what to take away, and Houston didn't let Karl-Anthony Towns get good looks at three-pointers in Game 1.

Butler 'still a kid from Tomball' as he makes Wolves playoff debut in Texas

Some former high-school teammates and an assistant principal temporarily have become Wolves fans because Jimmy Butler has come home for the playoffs.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) shoots while defended by Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors earlier this month. The NBA playoffs b

Wolves about to find out NBA playoffs bring intensity up a notch

It's one thing to beat an opponent one time, such as in the NCAA tournament. It's quite another thing to do so four times after both sides have had days before — and in between — to prepare for their opponents.
Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague celebrated at the end of Wednesday night's game that clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs.

Wolves feel no playoff pressure in facing top-seeded Rockets

In the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, the undaunted Wolves face the No. 1-seed Rockets with a goal to "shock the world."
The Wolves and Karl-Anthony Towns will earn a spot in the NBA playoffs with a win Wednesday night.

Season's work on the line for Wolves tonight against Denver

After getting no help from other teams around the West, the Timberwolves must earn a playoffs spot themselves to end 14-year drought. The Denver Nuggets stand in their way.
Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler returned Friday night with a bang. He scored 18 points and snagged four steals in 22½ minutes. It was his first game a

Butler's return serves Wolves with energy surge as they chase playoffs

There was no doubt Jimmy Butler's teammates started to show the burden borne during Butler's absence, both because of their increased workload without him and the loss of Butler's sheer will.
Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins, right, drives as Lakers forward Josh Hart defends Friday night in Los Angeles.

Wolves hope Butler's return propels Wiggins, too

Can Jimmy Butler's return after 17 games convince the Wolves' younger players — enigmatic Andrew Wiggins, to name one — just what it takes to win with playoff spots on the line?
Injured Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler jokes with teammates during introductions before the team's game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday

He's back: Butler returns to the court tonight for Wolves vs. LA Lakers

Jimmy Butler hasn't played since he partially tore the meniscus in his knee Feb. 23.
Karl-Anthony Towns defended the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic during the first half in Denver on Thursday.

Wolves fizzle in final minutes, drop into tie for final playoff spot

The Wolves built leads of eight points in the second and third quarters, but gave it up in the final minutes with Karl-Anthony Towns on the bench after fouling out.
The Timberwolves and veteran guard Jamal Crawford, right, missed one of their dwindling opportunities to strengthen their playoff footing in the West

Seven teams, one week figure in Wolves' quest for playoff spot

Winning last four will go far, but playoff tiebreakers, other factors can seal fates.
Jeff Teague

Teague sits out with hurt knee as Rubio lights up Wolves

Already missing guard Jimmy Butler for the past 16 games, the Timberwolves went two starters down Sunday when point guard Jeff Teague didn't play because of a sore knee in a 121-97 loss to Utah.
Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio (3) drove against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones (1) in the first quarter.

Smooth Jazz blows out sloppy Wolves sparked by Rubio's big night

Utah's Ricky Rubio hits five three-pointers and scored 23 points on a night when the Wolves lacked "intensity" and "execution" during an important game in the NBA playoff scramble.
Minnesota Timberwolves' , from left, Nemanja Bjelica, Taj Gibson and Tyus Jones wait out the closing minutes of their 121-97 loss to the Utah Jazz in

Wolves-Utah game recap

The Timberwolves suffered a lopsided loss at the hands of the Jazz Sunday, which may have big playoff implications.
Utah Jazz's Ricky Rubio, middle, drives the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves' Tyus Jones (1) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game

Gameday preview: Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz

The Jazz has won two of its past three games, three of its past five and 12 of its past 15 after Friday's 107-97 home victory over a Memphis team that won Monday at Target Center.
Karl Anthony Towns hugged his girlfriend, Kawahine Andrade, after scoring 56 points on Wednesday night against Atlanta at Target Center.

The day after: Teammates, foes marvel at Towns' record 56 points

Towns joined eight other players — including Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal — who reached at least 55 points and 15 rebounds in an NBA game.
Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns hugged his girlfriend on his way off the court after he set a franchise record with his 56-point effor

Hawks learn firsthand how 'impressive' Towns can be

Mike Budenholzer found the All-Star center's three-point shooting particularly eye-opening.
Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague said "guys ran out of gas" in the Wolves' loss to the Grizzlies on Monday.

Teague says 'guys ran out of gas' in Wolves' loss to Grizzlies

Jeff Teague played 42 minutes and fellow starters Taj Gibson and Andrew Wiggins played 43 minutes each and Karl-Anthony Towns 39 in a game when the Wolves shot 3-for-17 and were outscored 23-11 in the fourth quarter.
Phil Mickelson drinks from a bottle of champagne while celebrating Team USA's Ryder Cup victory over Europe in 2016.

Hazeltine will become first U.S. repeat host of Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is returning to the Twin Cities in 2028 at the same course where the world's premier international golf event enjoyed so much success in 2016.
A 76 percent free-throw shooter in each of his first three NBA seasons, Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins recently has shot himself over 70 percent for th

Wiggins shooting, hitting more free throws after early-season struggle

After missing almost as many free throws as he made in December, Andrew Wiggins is getting to the line more -- and showing some improvement.
Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins, left, and Karl-Anthony Towns, right, sit on the bench during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game

Wolves have no explanation for their Eastern Conference woes

Together, they have no definitive answers, but just like you the Timberwolves wonder why they have fared so well in Western Conference play and struggled so against the East.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford, left, and Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue have had to step away from their teams during this season for medical reasons.

NBA Insider: Stress taking a toll on coaches this season more than most

Effects of the profession are showing in health issues across the league.
New York forward Tim Hardaway Jr. tried to shoot around Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns in the fourth quarter Friday, when the Knicks had a har

Wolves break Eastern Conference hex by holding off Knicks 108-104

By surviving on the road against a struggling team, they clinched their first winning season since 2005.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns dunked in the first half Tuesday against the Clippers.

Wolves dominate Clippers to secure first non-losing season since 2005

By ending a two-game losing streak to San Antonio and Houston, the Wolves put three games between them and the Clippers.
Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford dribbled pass LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan at Target Center on Tuesday.

Another birthday for the Wolves' ageless Crawford

Jamal Crawford, who turned 38 on Tuesday, has played for 18 coaches in 18 seasons and just keeps on playing, whether winter or all summer long.
Derrick Rose is getting a handle on his responsibilities with his new team and new role in the Wolves’ guard rotation.

Rose is embracing role, and Wolves are on board

Derrick Rose's addition to the Wolves' rotation with a month left in the regular season has provided both periods of adjustment and promise
Minnesota Timberwolves' Jeff Teague, left, chases the ball as San Antonio Spurs' Pau Gasol, right, and LaMarcus Aldridge look on

San Antonio puts an end to Wolves' two-game winning streak

Trailing by nine points early, the Spurs ran away with the game late thanks to veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge's 39-point, 10-rebound performance
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) right celebrated a three-point shot with forward Taj Gibson

Wolves' Gibson doesn't mind playing heavy minutes

Until this season, Taj Gibson had never averaged more than the 28.7 minutes he played for coach Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls in a 2013-14 season when he played all 82 games
Going into Saturday night, Nemanja Bjelica has averaged 13.9 points (on 49 percent shooting), 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game since

NBA insider: Bjelica is making a name for himself

The ver­sa­tile for­ward has stepped up his game in Jimmy But­ler's ab­sence.
Karl-Anthony Towns, right, and Andrew Wiggins were smiling after a January win but it’s more serious now.

Wolves playing with more seriousness as playoff race heats up

"They're growing," Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said of his team, which is among eight teams chasing the West's final six playoff spots.
Patrick Ewing led Georgetown to a 15-15 season.

Thibodeau happy Ewing finally got his head-coaching shot

Patrick Ewing served 15 years as an assistant coach for four NBA teams but didn't get his first head-coaching job until his alma mater called last spring.
The Wolves responded to a three-game losing streak by beating Golden State and Washington, thanks to elevated play from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Pressure builds as Wolves push through playoff-contending crowd

The NBA's Western Conference race is so tight that every night is now crucial. "Everyone is watching games," coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives against Wizards center Marcin Gortat during the first half of Tuesday's game.

Big fourth quarter propels Wolves past Wizards; Towns scores 37

The Wolves completed a comeback against the Wizards thanks to a 34-point fourth quarter that included a 20-3 run and big plays by Karl-Anthony Towns and Nemanja Bjelica.
Timberwolves center Cole Aldrich

Aldrich provides valuable seconds off bench for Wolves

Until Tuesday, Cole Aldrich had played 31 minutes in 15 games this season.
Andrew Wiggins glided between Golden State guard Klay Thompson, right, and forward Omri Casspi in the first half of Sunday’s Wolves victory and stay

Wolves keep feeding Wiggins this advice: 'Stop settling, man.'

Tom Thibodeau has praised Andrew Wiggins much of the season for making what he calls "winning" plays. But the coach wants to see even more.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns celebrated as Warriors guard Nick Young (6) looked on late in the fourth period of Minnesota's 109-103 victory

End-game awesome: Towns outduels Durant in fourth, Wolves beat Warriors

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to finish off a 31-point, 16-rebound performance. Andrew Wiggins was among five other Wolves in double figures with 23 points.
Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose lost his footing during the first half against Golden State at Target Center on Sunday.

Rusty Rose said he felt 'anxious' in Wolves debut

Newly signed guard Derrick Rose made his Timberwolves' debut with 6½ minutes played during Sunday's first half against Golden State, and the best you can say about it is he should get better.
Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) limps back to the court after injuring his right ankle as teammate Draymond Green (23) checks on his conditi

Warriors unfazed about facing Wolves without Curry

The Warriors have played 16 games without Curry this season and are 11-5 in those. They've scored 13 fewer points a game — 119 to 103 — without him, but also have ratcheted their defense while fellow superstar Durant always seems to find another gear.
Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, right, celebrates a score as Minnesota Timberwolves' Nemanja Bjelica watches during the first half of an NBA bask

Preview: Timberwolves vs. Golden State

The 51-14 Warriors' seven-game winning streak ended with Friday's 125-108 loss at Portland.
Newly signed Wolves guard Derrick Rose sat on the floor but didn’t get onto the floor for a minute of playing time in his first game with the Wolves

NBA Insider: Teague, Rose, Jones backcourt can work in today's game

The Timberwolves' signing of Derrick Rose might have caused you to ask where his point-guard minutes might come on a team that already has starter Jeff Teague and backup Tyus Jones: Will Rose play with Teague and/or Jones and if not, why not?
Boston Celtics's Jaylen Brown lays up as Minnesota Timberwolves' Taj Gibson, left, looks on in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Marc

Celtics' Brown gets up after frightening landing against Wolves

Jaylen Brown tumbled head over heels when he was fouled on a dunk and landed frighteningly upside down
Newly signed Timberwolves' player Derrick Rose watches in the second half

'I'm not here for stats.' Rose joins Wolves team searching for wins

Rose signed a contract for the rest of the season — making him eligible for the playoffs — and is reuniting with coach Tom Thibodeau, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.
Boston Celtics’s Al Horford, center, of Dominican Republic, pulls in a rebound as Minnesota Timberwolves’ Tyus Jones, left, and Andrew Wiggins, ri

Defense deserts Wolves in loss to Boston; Bjelica's career-best night for naught

Nemanja Bjelica did his part for the Timberwolves but the rest of the starters could not keep up with Boston as Minnesota lost its third game in a row for the first time this season.
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of both Gordon Hayward and Jimmy Butler: “Those versatile guys are hard to lose.”

Playing hurt: Wolves, Boston have both faced injury challenges

The Celtics suffered a daunting injury when star Gordon Hayward was lost for the season in the opener. But Boston responded with an early 16-game winning streak and has the East's second-best record.
Utah Jazz's Ricky Rubio (3) drives the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves' Jeff Teague (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Frida

NBA insider: Teague-Rubio rivalry boiling over

Essentially traded for each other over the summer, Jeff Teague and Ricky Rubio came to a very real, if fleeting, connection Friday at Utah.
Minnesota Timberwolves' Jeff Teague (0) and Utah Jazz's Jae Crowder, back, tussle after Teague was called for a foul for pushing Utah Jazz's Ricky Rub

Wolves lose game – and tempers – in heated effort at Utah

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague were ejected, there was shoving in front of the Wolves bench and injured Jimmy Butler took to Twitter to support his team during Friday's loss.

Shorthanded Wolves call up three from G League

The Iowa Wolves played Utah's G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars on Thursday, just a 10-minute drive from the Jazz's Vivint Smart Home arena.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica during the second half of an NBA basketball gam

Wolves start tough schedule stretch with loss in Portland

Thursday's 108-99 loss started a daunting eight-game stretch that will help determine the Wolves' playoff seeding, or if they make the playoffs at all.
Justin Patton of the G League Iowa Wolves.

G League or free agent? Wolves have options to replace Muhammad

Shabazz Muhammad's release left the Wolves with two open roster spots and just 10 available players for Thursday's game against Portland. What the Wolves do next is the mystery.
Chicago’s David Nwaba was guarded by Nemanja Bjelica in a game Feb. 24.

Bjelica steps in to fill Butler's spot with Wolves

In Monday's victory at Sacramento, Nemanja Bjelica provided a physical presence that Kings coach Dave Joerger said presented "too much size" for his team.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, right, drives against Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein during the second quarter of an NB

Going to Towns: Big man has big night as Wolves crush Sacramento

Six players scored in double figures, led by Karl-Anthony Towns' 26-point, 17-rebound performance delivered against former Kentucky teammate Willie Cauley-Stein
The Timberwolves move on without injured star Jimmy Butler by inserting Nemanja Bjelica (8) into the starting lineup at small forward and sliding Andr

Wolves weigh options in Butler's absence

The Timberwolves move on without injured star Jimmy Butler by inserting Nemanja Bjelica into the starting lineup at small forward and sliding Andrew Wiggins into Butler's big-guard spot.
Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler injured his right knee during the third quarter of Friday's game in Houston.

Wolves await results of MRI after Butler's knee injury

The Timberwolves returned from the All-Star break with a dud, losing 120-102 to the Rockets while seeing Jimmy Butler helped off the court in the third quarter.
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) and guard James Harden (13)

Rockets star Harden voices concern, support for Jimmy Butler

James Harden and teammate Chris Paul were among the many who surrounded Jimmy Butler after he collapsed to the court after planting his right leg Friday night.
Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler said he hasn’t talked to coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau about whether free agent Derrick Rose

Wolves' Butler says he's leaving Rose decision up to coach

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose were teammates in Chicago for five seasons, and Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau coached both players with the Bulls.
Team Stephen’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Team LeBron’s Paul George chatted during a stop in play Sunday night. Towns had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Wolves' Towns proves he belongs in first NBA All-Star Game

The Wolves center sparked Team Stephen off bench while Jimmy Butler decided to sit this one out.
Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler chose not to play in Sunday's All-Star Game, the only player from either team who didn’t. He suggested in the weeks

'I got to rest.' Butler chooses not to play in All-Star Game

Butler chose not to play, the only player from either team who didn't. He suggested in the weeks leading to Sunday that such a game isn't suited for a guy built to defend and win.
Read our comment standards

StarTribune.com welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in substantive, mutually respectful exchanges over news topics. Commenters must follow our Terms of Use.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic.
  2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
  3. Comments with web links are not permitted.
  4. Comments that violate the above will be removed. Repeat violators may lose their commenting privileges on StarTribune.com.

Comments will be reviewed before being published.

More from Star Tribune