The Houston Rockets tonight make their first Target Center visit this season, which means Dwight Howard comes to town for the first time as a Rocket.

It also means, of course, that Kevin McHale is back in the arena and the state he once called home.

But don't expect him to gush all warm and fuzzy about it because once again, he won't.

"It's cold, I know that much," he said when asked about the emotions of his return. "It hasn't warmed up much."

Somebody tried to engage him in a conversation about the 10th anniversary of that 2003-04 Wolves team he assembled that reached the Western Conference finals with Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell leading the way.

Don't go there, man.

"I'm not going to 2003," he said. "I forgot 2003. OK? Next question."

When asekd what his memories of Minnesota - and presumably the Wolves are - he said, "Best memories? Fishing, being with my dad hunting in woods. Those are my best memories of Minnesota."

He was better talking about Howard and how the Rockets are getting used to playing with a legitimate low-post scorer for the first time and he was better talking about how the power-forward position has changed since he played and Kevin Love has expanded the part of the "stretch 4" position.

Asked if he could see this kind of career coming for Love (whom he made that draft-night deal in 2008), McHale said, "Nah, if anybody drafts anybody besides LeBron and they tell you they saw all this, they're lying to you. But everybody lies in this business. I thought Kevin would be a double-double guy. He could really rebound, rebounded outside his area, had great hands and a really good 15 to 17 foot jump shot. And I said with that alone he could be a 15-and-10 guy. But like I said, he took it to a whole new level. Good for him. Good kid."

No word yet on whether Love will play tonight. It all depends on how much his battered and bruised body has gotten better with two more days' rest.

Wolves didn't shoot this morning and are having a 4:30 p.m. walk-through instead, so I'll know more when pre-game availablity starts at 5:30 pm.

Don't expect Nikola Pekovic or Kevin Martin to play until after the All-Star break, though.

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