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.

Flip misses shootaround, expected in Houston for tonight's game

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves players, Wolves pre-game, Wolves news Updated: March 27, 2015 - 12:00 PM

Wolves coach Flip Saunders took a detour on his way to Houston for tonight's game against the Rockets: He stopped in Cleveland Thursday instead to visit his ailing father and scout the NCAA regional that included Kentucky and top draft picks Karl-Anthony Towns and WIllie Cauley-Stein.

He was not at the team's morning shootaround at Toyota Center but is expected in town this afternoon in time for tonight's game.

Nikola Pekovic and Gary Neal did not make the trip to Houston. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Garnett are here but are not expected to play.

Neither is Kevin Martin, who said his strained hamstrings should be better and good to go by next week.

Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel remain out as well.

The Rockets are banged up as well: Donatas Motiejunas (lower back) is questionable, Patrick Beverley (wrist sprain), Terrence Jones (collapsed lung) and Kostas Papanikolaou (ankle sprain) are listed as out, but center Dwight Howard is back for his second game after he missed 22 games because of swelling in his knee.

Wolves youth takes another step in OT loss

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves postgame Updated: March 25, 2015 - 11:03 PM

Greetings for a final time from Target Center, where the Wolves lost the battle but may have made some progress when it comes to the war.

What do I mean by this? That Wolves’ rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine took a few more steps in their development tonight, got even more experience in the pressure of overtime games. Plus, the Wolves are still in pretty good draft lottery position.

Here are some thoughts from the game

--After Andrew Wiggins scored a game-high 27 points, coach Flip Saunders said this: “He had a 40-point game at his fingertips. He missed a couple opportunities early.’’  In my opinion, Wiggins could have been given a few more calls as well.

--What an interesting game by Zach LaVine. On the one hand, he was aggressive from start to finish, got to the line when it counted. But he also slipped up a bit late on defense. And he had another four turnovers tonight.

--Center Gorgui Dieng also has battled the turnover bug lately. He had six tonight, and has averaged three TOs per game over his last five games.

--Chase Budinger continues to play better and better. He scored a season-high 22 points tonight, on 9-for-14 shooting, hitting the corner three that forced overtime. He has hit multiple three-pointers in consecutive games for the first time this season.

--More Wiggins:  He has scored 20 or more points in 23 games this season.

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be with the team on the road.

Hamilton to return to action tonight

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves pre-game Updated: March 25, 2015 - 6:28 PM

Greetings from Target Center, where the Lakers and Wolves will kick off in a batle of the bottom two teams in the Western Conference.

Lakers coach Byron Scott is away from the team attending the funeral of his mother. That leaves Paul Pressey in charge.  The Lakers’ injury report is nearly as long as the Wolves. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are out, of course. But so are Ronnie Price, Julius Randle and Nick Young.

The Wolves?

The team will get Justin Hamilton back. Hamilton, who took a knee to his head in Brooklyn March 16, will play for the first time in five games. He missed four games with a headache. But he has passed the concussion protocol and is ready to return.

Not so for the other Wolves players. Kevin Martin, nursing a sore hamstring, will dress but almost certainly will not play. Also out:  Ricky Rubio, Kevin Garnett, Anthony Bennett, Robbie Hummel, Shabazz Muhammad, Gary Neal and Nikola Pekovic.

Saunders said that both Rubio and Garnett would play again at some point before this season ends. Rubio missed his fourth straight game and his sixth in seven games with a sore ankle. Garnett’s sore knee kept him out of his eighth straight game Wednesday.

That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after the game.

Nine men out? Brown starting for Martin tonight at Utah

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves pre-game, Wolves news Updated: March 23, 2015 - 8:03 PM

The Wolves' injuries continue: Lorenzo Brown will start at Kevin Martin's shooting guard spot tonight at Utah because Martin's hamstring is bothering him.

Martin will be in uniform and could still possibly play, although the Wolves might be saying that because they need eight men healthy and ready to play.

Martin's the eighth.

If he doesn't play, that's nine men on the injured list.

Nikola Pekovic, Gary Neal and Justin Hamilton all remained behind in Minnesota and didn't make the trip. Kevin Garnett and Ricky Rubio did travel with the team but will not play.

Neither will Anthony Bennett, Robbie Hummel and Shabazz Muhammad against a Jazz team that has won 13 of its last 18.

Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Garnett's knee is getting stronger and said there's a chance he could play Wednesday against the L.A. Lakers at Target Center, but didn't sound very certain about it.

Hamilton went to Rochester's Mayo Clinic today seeking to get clearance to play again after he was kneed in the back of the head a week against Brooklyn and had headaches for the next several days.

Hamilton had a similar injury before, so Saunders said the team is being cautious.

Saunders said the headaches are gone and if Hamilton gets clearance, he'll work out Tuesday and could play Wednesday.

He also said Bennett has made progress the last few days and could play by Sunday in New Orleans.

Wolves shot well but finished poorly

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves postgame Updated: March 22, 2015 - 9:25 PM
 

Greetings from a final time from Target Center. I’m about to battle the snow on my long commute home.

The Wolves managed another statistical quirk tonight, shooting better than 55 percent and losing for just the third time since the 1996-97 season. They’re record in those games in that time: 63-3. The biggest reasons: Turnovers and lack of rebounding, something that likely won’t change until a few of the Wolves'’ healthy players return to action.

Here are some other thoughts on the game:

--Kevin Martin had nine assists tonight. That is a career record. “I don’t know if he’s had nine assists in a month of games,” joked coach Flip Saunders.

--Eight Wolves players saw action tonight. Seven of them scored in double figures.

--The team’s injury situation got worse when Gary Neal went down early in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle. He didn’t make the trip to Utah, which means there might be only seven players available for Monday’s game against the Jazz.

--Tonight the Wolves’ bench scored 30 points on 13-for-17 shooting.

--Adreian Payne is going to struggle defensively until he gets stronger and more experienced. But he had a nice game tonight with 13 points, nine rebounds and an assist. He and Gorgui Dieng combined for 29 points and 17 rebounds.

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be with the team tomorrow in Utah.

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