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.
My colleague/boss Dennis Brackin covered practice for me today at Target Center while I head to the airport to catch a flight westward for this quick two-game trip to Salt Lake City and Denver.
* Don't expect Ricky Rubio to make the trip because of that stiff back that caused him to miss Saturday's victory over Phoenix.
Rick Adelman said it didn't make much sense to put Rubio and his spasming back on a plane to Utah and Denver for back-to-back games, the second of which he's wasn't going to play anyway.
Instead, unless there's a late change in plans before the team flies today, they'll keep him here for treatment and try to get him healthy for Saturday's game against Portland.
The start time for that 7 p.m. game, btw, won't be changed to avoid conflict with the Vikings' playoff game at Green Bay because Portland plays the night before in Memphis and needs 24 hours before it plays again and because the Wolves have their big, annual prep Shootout scheduled for Saturday and the headlining Apple Valley-Robbinsdale Cooper game is set for 3 p.m. and there's no wiggle room to move the start time up a couple, three hours.
* Andrei Kirilenko makes his return to Utah to play the Jazz for the first time after playing his first 10 NBA seasons there.
He said after practice that he can't imagine how he'll feel walking out onto the court and said he probably will recognize every fan sitting in the first 20 rows there.
The Wolves are all out of Love again, this time in New York City for a 4 p.m. game against the Knicks, the main event to this afternoon's Vikings-Texans prelim.
That means the Wolves will counter the Knicks' small starting lineup with one of their own.
Rick Adelman will start point guards Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea in his backcourt and move Alexey Shved to a forward spot of sorts against a Knicks team that also starts point guards Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton and puts guard Ronnie Brewer beside faux-power forward Carmelo Anthony inthe frontcourt.
Adelman contemplated starting Dante Cunningham at Love's power-forward spot, but opted for the three-guard lineup instead.
Love did not travel to New York on Saturday because of an eye injury sustained when he got poked in it late during Thursday's victory over Oklahoma City.
A couple other things about today's game:
* Adelman said Ricky Rubio's minutes won't be increased for his fourth game back, which also is his first visit to Madison Square Garden where it was once assumed he wanted to play.
He said Rubio's minutes will stay right around the 18-minute mark, and then everybody will discuss before Wednesday's game against Houston about whether to increase them.
* How injury prone are the Wolves?
Even their GM is out injured.
President of basketball operations David Kahn couldn't travel, as he often does, to today's game after undergoing hernia surgery last week.
* Kirilenko draws his third tough defensive assignment in as many games today.
On Tuesday, he defended LeBron James. On Thursday, it was Kevin Durant.
And today it's Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who is playing well enough to be considered an early contender for MVP.
I asked AK before the game if he's going to ask for a raise on that $10 million salary.
"Why?" he asked. "I get paid enough. I'm not greedy."
They can't get into Target Center these days, so NBA stars John Wall, Joakim Noah and DeMarcus Cousins are among those expected to play in Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley's "All Star Classic" at Osseo High School -- of all places -- next week.
Beasley's Wolves teammates Derrick Williams, Wes Johnson, Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington and former Wolf Sebastian Telfair are scheduled to play as well in the Friday night, Oct. 21 exhibition game.
So, too, are Boston's Jeff Green, Detroit's Greg Monroe, L.A. Clippers' DeAndre Jordan, Chicago's Keith Bogans and Beasley's longtime pal, former Dukie Nolan Smith.
Missing from the list -- at least for now -- is childhood buddy Kevin Durant.
More details -- including ticket prices ranging from $50 for general admission $100 for VIP reserved and $200 for courtside seats -- can be found here.
For comparsion, Durant's charity game at a bigger venue in Oklahoma City two days later featuring former Oklahoma star Blake Griffin, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Green has priced its tickets from $29 to $89 -- there's some $199 courtside seats as well -- with the average price right around $50.
The Beasley All-Star Classic web site says all net proceeds -- and what that means and how much players get for their presence, I'm not sure -- will go to Beasley's foundation that benefits St. Jude's and three Minneapolis charities.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and former Lakers star Norm Nixon, who has been working out Beasley and mentoring him this off-season, will be celebrity coaches.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and tip is at 7 p.m.
If you're looking for the radio broadcast of tonight's Timberwolves...
It's back on KFAN 1130 AM now that the Vikings' game at Philadelphia has been postponed until Tuesday.
Tonight's game was supposed to be on KOOL 108 FM, but the Vikes' schedule has been disrupted yet again, this time by that East Coast snowstorm.
You'll need to listen to it because tonight's game is another not on local television, until you have the NBA's League Pass.
No changes for the Wolves' tonight, except you can expect Kosta Koufos to wear one of those Rip Hamilton-type plastic masks after Martell Webster inadvertently elbowed him in the schnoz during practice Friday morning.
"Yeah," Koufos said. "Merry Christmas."
The NBA schedule maker did give Koufos a present: He got to fly home to Ohio after Friday morning's practice and spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family in Canton, about 30 minutes from where he'll play tonight.
Before tonight's game, he was separating out about 25 tickets and passes for family and friends expecting to make the trip to say him play in Cleveland for the only time this season.
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