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.
The Wolves will play on tonight with either Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio against Portland at Target Center.
Yes, there is another game going on tonight at 7 p.m., sports fans.
Love is out because of what the team is calling a sprained finger sustained against the Nuggets in Denver on Thursday night, although it looked like the swelling was more in the hand on that third metacarpal he broke in October than up his middle finger.
Rubio will miss his third consecutive game because of a stiff back/back spasms.
He worked long after shootaround this morning shooting and running with assistant coach Terry Porter.
Btw, the Wolves will show tonight's Vikings-Packers game -- which also starts at 7 p.m. -- on the Target Center concourse televisions and will provide in-game score updates on the P.A. system.
Derrick Williams will be in the NBA All-Star Game's Slam Dunk Contest.
The contest is Saturday, Feb. 25, in Orlando, the day before the All-Star Game. Williams and Ricky Rubio of the Wolves are in the rookie/second year game that weekend, and teammate Kevin Love will play in the All-Star Game on Feb. 26.
Other Wolves who have been in the Slam Dunk Contest are Gerald Green, Chris Carr, Doug West and J.R. Rider. Rider won it in 1994.
The other participants in the Slam Dunk Contest this year are Paul George of the Pacers, Iman Shumpert of the Knicks and Chase Budinger of the Rockets. The contest is one round, three dunks for each participant. Fans will do all the voting, either on nba.com, via Twitter or via texts.
In previous years, there were two rounds and judges on site. Blake Griffin of the Clippers won last year's contest, but declined to participate this season.
Williams had the NBA Play of the Day for his dunk last night against Charlotte.
Here is a post-practice update.
After the Wolves had finished practice, Williams, with fellow rookie Malcolm Lee, spent some time working on his dunking. It was fun to watch. Ultimately, Williams pulled off one very impressive dunk, one in which he put the ball off the backboard, then moved it between his legs before throwing it down.
Williams said he was thrilled to be a part of the competition.
"Just being a part (of it) is pretty cool," he said.
This isn't his first such competition. Williams said he took part in one when he was at Arizona back in 2010. But he didn't win. He was topped by teammate Brendan Lavender, who used his 42-inch vertical leap to pull off an impressive dunk. Lavender started at midcourt, did a handstand, then a backflip, took a pass, doubled pumped and threw it down reverse.
But back to Williams. He has 19 dunks this season, that very impressive one last night. Williams said he owes Ricky Rubio a lot for just being in the competition, given how many times Rubio has set him up with lob passes. Williams hopes to have Rubio help him during the competition, if the Wolves point guard has the time. "I asked Ricky, but he's not sure what he's doing yet," Williams said. "But hopefully he can help me out; I'll get more fan votes that way. Everybody loves Ricky''
Other items from today's practice:
--Love said he expects to get booed when he plays in Houston tomorrow. Of course you know why, right? The last time the two teams played Love stepped on Rockets forward Luis Scola's head and was suspended two games for it. "It's a dead issue," Love said. "I'm sure it's a dead issue with their team, too. We've moved on. I've served the suspension. It's all closed. It's good to go.''
--Wolves coach Rick Adelman said not to read too much into the fact that neither Williams nor Michael Beasley played in the second half of Wednesday's game. That happened mainly because Adelman liked what the group he had out on the floor at the end of the third quarter -- Luke Ridnour, Love, Nikola Pekovic, J.J. Barea and Martell Webster -- was doing. He went with the same five for much of the fourth quarter as well. "I liked our execution," Adelman said. "We looked at (film) of it today to show everybody, this is how we want to play."
That said, Adelman said Beasley''s production off the bench will be much needed as the Wolves are about to play four games in six nights heading into the All Star break.
That's about it for today. Your old pal Jerry Zgoda will take the wheel in Houston.
The Timberwolves honored Sid Hartman before Tuesday's game for his decades of work running the Minneapolis Lakers and years later covering the Timberwolves.
Phil Jackson and Kurt Rambis presented him with framed jerseys from both teams.
Sid had a speech all prepared for the crowd announced at 17,111, but never got the chance to deliver it because of television time constraints.
So he asked me if I'd put it up on the blog.
Here it is:
I’m sure you fans came to watch the great Lakers teams play the Wolves tonight, not to hear me bore you with a long speech.
First of all, I want to thank the owners of the Timberwolves and the Lakers, the Buss Family, and the Taylor Family for this recognition.
I go back knowing all about Bill Fitch. And then, when he helped a New York Knicks team win the NBA title in 1973 under a very good friend of mine, coach Red Holtzman. to his college days at North Dakota playing for the great
I’m very humbled to have a future Hall of Fame coach on this program. And, as far as is concerned, he was a winner as a player, a winner as an assistant coach and I’m sure will be a winner as the Timberwolves coach.
Target Center lobby, should be given credit for the great reputation this Lakers name has., the man with the statue in the
I actually was involved in starting another team, the Chicago Packers, in 1960. And, had things worked out, Jerry West would have been playing for the Packers, which then became the Zephyrs, then the Bullets and now the Washington Wizards instead of the Lakers.
I want to give credit to the great Buss family, who were kind enough to fly and his family free to the championship Lakers victory this past year.
And Kobe, I have a little message for you: The other night I had dinner with my very close personal friend Bob Knight. Somebody in the party brought your name up and I’m sure you would blush if you would heard all of the good things he said about you and your relationship with him.
In closing, I hope to be covering both the Timberwolves and the Lakers for many years and have the same relationship I have with commissioner David Stern and many others in the league.
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