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.
Mo Williams will miss his third consecutive game tonight against Golden State at Target Center because of back spasms, which means perhaps another 40-minute plus game from rookie Zach LaVine.
Shabazz Muhammad said after this morning's shootaround that he was headed next door to get a MRI on his hurting and swollen ankle but said, barring anything unforesee, he expects to play with the pain tonight against a 17-2 Warriors team that owns the NBA's best record.
"It feels good, it's still sore but we're down some guys, I'll be fine," he said. "I'm a pretty tough guy. I'll play through it and see how it works out tonight."
Of course, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf also all remain out, although I saw Ricky shooting three-pointers with no crutches or walking boot after the morning shootaround today.
Without Williams, the Wolves will rely on LaVine as their iron-man starter and Corey Brewer as the makeshift backup point guard.
The Warriors arrive with a 12-game winning streak and that league-best record.
I guess with that 17-2 record it's a good thing they decided not to include Klay Thompson in a deal for Kevin Love last summer, huh?
"Apparently," new Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Sorry for the delayed blog, running late on Pacific time out here on the second part of back-to-back games...
The Wolves went with the same starting lineup tonight against the Clippers in their second game in LA in three days after a quick trip to Portland and back.
That means Andrew Wiggins again was in the starting lineup. He said he was feeling much better -- "thank you" -- tonight than Sunday in Portland, where he received IVs before the game and played just 18 minutes because he was ill.
The Clippers are back for the first time from a seven-game trip in which they went 6-1.
The Wolves are headed home tomorrow morning from this three-game trip with a dangerous meeting Wednesday at Target Center against Philadelphia, which will be trying to avoid tying a NBA record for most consecutive losses to start a season. They are 0-17 now after losing to San Antonio tonight.
Just when the Wolves add one healthy player, another gets sick.
Rookie Andrew Wiggins has been ill all day, getting IVs because of apparently a virus that's been going around. He was in the locker room 45 minutes before game time, wearing his warmups, but never looking too clever.
Flip Saunders called him "literally" a game time decision for tonight's game at Portland.
He's in the initial starting lineup and plans to warm up and see how he feels, but I expect he'll try to play.
If he can't, Saunders said Shabazz Muhammad will get the call at small forward.
Meanwhile, newcomer Jeff Adrien arrived in Portland late Saturday night and said he's ready to play as much as Saunders asks.
He was in the locker room pre-game studying on the computer with one of the Wolves' video experts.
Saunders said they had looked around at a limited supply of big guys and chose Adrien, who played 53 games with Milwaukee and Charlotte last year, because he has NBA experience and the kind of strength and toughness the injury-depleted team needs.
Saunders acknowledged Adrien's arrival is an indication that Nikola Pekovic won't be back in game shape for at least 10 days or two weeks probably, best case.
The Wolves today have signed former Milwaukee and Charlotte forward Jeff Adrien to help out in these difficult times with a roster exemption they've received from the NBA.
The Wolves received the hardship exception to add a 16th man beyond their 15-man roster because they have four players out injured.
Adrien, a 6-7 power forward, provides some muscle and bulk to a team that is missing injured centers Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf.
At least three of the Wolves' four injured players -- Pekovic, Turiaf, Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio -- now cannot play for at least the next 10 days.
Pekovic will be evaluated again this coming week, but Flip Saunders said Friday that even if he's cleared for practice, he'll need at least a week to get back into game shape.
Adrien, 28, averaged 6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game in 53 games with Milwaukee and Charlotte last year.
Wolves veteran Mo Williams still has that case of pink eye and still looks like he's recovering from strep throat, but he calls himself well enough to play and start tonight against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
How long and how well he'll play, well, it doesn't sound like he's making any guarantees.
He was too sick to get out of bed Monday and Tuesday, felt well enough to eat something Wednesday and considered himself blessed to be well enough to eat Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
His presence gives Flip Saunders another point-guard option beyond rookie Zach LaVine, and presumbaly will keep Saunders from asking Corey Brewer to handle the ball.
Brewer did so in an emergency basis in Wednesday's home loss to Milwaukee and had a 7-turnover night.
The Lakers are 3-12 but have Kobe Bryant, who's not only back after essentially two seasons lost to injury but he's back leading the NBA in scoring a 26.4 point average. Rookie Andrew Wiggins will be asked to defend him almost on an island, like he has done against Carmelo Anthony and James Harden already this season.
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