Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Starters set for tonight's Wolves opener

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves guards, Wolves pre-game, Rookies, Wolves news Updated: December 26, 2011 - 12:45 PM

The Timberwolves just concluded their morning shootaround for tonight's season-opener against Oklahoma City and judging from who wore the white jersey, Rick Adelman is going with that lineup from last season that he used in the preseason:

Luke Ridnour and Wes Johnson at guard, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley at forwards, Darko! at center.

When asked how the Wolves will try to defend two-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant, assistant coach Terry Porter said they'll throw everything at him: Beasley, Derrick Williams, Wes and probably then some.

Rookie Ricky Rubio will make his NBA debut coming off the bench.

If preseason gave us an accurate preview, look for Adelman to pair Rubio with J.J. Barea most of the time. They'll probably be the first players off the bench tonight.

"It's going to be amazing," Rubio said. "After long, long two years waiting to play here, I'm finally here. It's going to be hard because we have a lot of games in a short season. I think today we'll play good. We have to think about enjoy it and try to win."

He missed the preseason finale at Milwaukee and a few days of practice because of a sprained ankle, but this morning declared himself, "Much, much better. I don't feel pain. I feel much better."

About coming off the bench, he said, "Derrick Williams and all the rookies, it's hard to start from the beginning. There's a lot of experience here like KLove and Luke Ridnour. All those players who know better than us, they have to teach us how to handle that pressure and all that stuff."

He said he believes he's ready for the NBA.

"It's a short preseason," he said. "I think that i learned fast. I learned a lot of things from my teammates, from the game with Milwaukee that we played. I think I'm ready. We'll see tonight."

Yes, we will.

Opening tap is 7 p.m. tonight against a Thunder team that reached the Western Conference finals last spring before losing to eventual champion Dallas and who dispatched Orlando with relative ease in Sunday's season opener.

A couple other things:

* Barea on watching his former Dallas team play Miami in Sunday's national TV opener: "Watched most of it. The first part of it was hard, it was hard to watch. I wish it would have been different to be there with my old teammates and try to to do it again, but nothing. I'm excited to be here. New team, it's over now. Let that one go and keep going."

* Former Gopher and TImberwolf Quincy Lewis was at shootaround this morning and will do some pre- and post-game work for FSN this season, starting tonight.

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