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.

Rubio-led Wolves win at home

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves postgame Updated: February 4, 2015 - 10:58 PM

Seems all I do is cover Wolves victories.

Joking, joking.

But tonight’s come-from-behind victory was a lot of fun to watch. It was also the first time the Wolves had rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to win a game in nearly 27 months. Ricky Rubio was very good in his first home game back at Target Center since spraining his left ankle months ago. But this one was a team effort. The comeback was started with Rubio on the bench.

But it was Rubio who helped finish it.

Here are some observations on the game:

--This was Kevin Martin’s 80th career game with 30 or more points, his fourth this season. He was very, very good, with some key three-pointers in an otherwise difficult third quarter.

--Thad Young really came to play in the fourth quarter when he was part of a group – Gorgui Dieng was another key cog – that helped the Wolves finally control the boards. Young finished with 16 points and is averaging 17.2 points on 48.4-percent shooting over his last 11 games.

--Dieng had the first four points of that fourth-quarter comeback and he finished with 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting and nine rebounds. He had seven points, six rebounds and a block in the fourth quarter.

--The Wolves have won two of their last three home games after losing 10 straight.

--Tonight was just the fifth time this season the Wolves have shot better than 50 percent.

That’s about all for now. I’ll get back to you after tomorrow’s practice. 

Rubio-led Wolves win at home

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves postgame Updated: February 4, 2015 - 10:58 PM

Seems all I do is cover Wolves victories.

Joking, joking.

But tonight’s come-from-behind victory was a lot of fun to watch. It was also the first time the Wolves had rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to win a game in nearly 27 months. Ricky Rubio was very good in his first home game back at Target Center since spraining his left ankle months ago. But this one was a team effort. The comeback was started with Rubio on the bench.

But it was Rubio who helped finish it.

Here are some observations on the game:

--This was Kevin Martin’s 80th career game with 30 or more points, his fourth this season. He was very, very good, with some key three-pointers in an otherwise difficult third quarter.

--Thad Young really came to play in the fourth quarter when he was part of a group – Gorgui Dieng was another key cog – that helped the Wolves finally control the boards. Young finished with 16 points and is averaging 17.2 points on 48.4-percent shooting over his last 11 games.

--Dieng had the first four points of that fourth-quarter comeback and he finished with 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting and nine rebounds. He had seven points, six rebounds and a block in the fourth quarter.

--The Wolves have won two of their last three home games after losing 10 straight.

--Tonight was just the fifth time this season the Wolves have shot better than 50 percent.

That’s about all for now. I’ll get back to you after tomorrow’s practice. 

Rubio still on minutes limit; soreness in Pekovic's ankle increases

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves pre-game Updated: February 4, 2015 - 6:13 PM

Greetings from Target Center, where the Wolves will tip off with Miami in about an hour.

Here are some pre-game notes:

--Coach Flip Saunders said Ricky Rubio came out OK from his first action Monday in Dallas. He was asked why he took Rubio out near the end of the game. It wasn’t just a minutes-limit thing:

“He was favoring (his left ankle) a little bit down the stretch,” Saunders said. “So I didn’t want to do anything. When you’re coming back, and you’re rehabbing, and it’s a little bit weak, you don’t want to take a chance. But he seemed OK.’’

Rubio will again be held to a minute limit of between 20 and 22 minutes, Saunders said.

--Center Nikola Pekovic has been experiencing more ankle soreness of late. So Saunders said the team needs to do a better job of monitoring Pek’s minutes. Saunders said he’d even consider not playing Pekovic on the back end of back-to-back games.

--Zach LaVine, who has missed two games with a twisted left ankle, is available to play tonight. But Saunders said he will avoid playing the rookie if he can help it, so that ankle has a little bit more time to heal.

--Saunders is hoping Shabazz Muhammad, who will miss his 14th game tonight because of an oblique muscle strain, could return either Friday or Sunday.

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

He's back: Wolves' Rubio will play tonight in Dallas

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves pre-game, Wolves news Updated: February 2, 2015 - 6:57 PM

Ricky Rubio will play tonight against the Mavericks in Dallas, presumably no more than 20 minutes.

Flip Saunders said that's the minutes limit for his star point guard who hasn't played a game since severely spraining his ankle in a Nov. 7 game at Orlando.

Expect Rubio will start and don't be surprised, if all goes well, if he plays more than that limit.

Rubio talked before the game about the growth he has gained in three months away, as a teammate, a leader and what he called a "coach."

He also said his shot has more arc and is improved from work with shooting coach Mike Penberthy during all that time when his upper body functioned while he healed his leg.

Rubio likely will be matched up against Mavs guard Devin Harris now that Rajon Rondo is out at least three games because of facial injuries sustained in Saturday's game.

One of Rubio's agents and one of his friends from Minneapolis have flown in for the game.

Wolves' Rubio on return tonight: 'If it feels good, I'll be back'

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves players, Wolves pre-game, Super Bowl, Wolves news Updated: February 2, 2015 - 12:28 PM

Ricky Rubio participated in this morning's shootaround in Dallas and said he'll play tonight IF his ankle feels right after pre-game warmups.

"I mean, if it feels good, I'm going to be back," he said. "It depends how it goes. If I don't feel ready in the warmups, I won't be playing. I don't know, we'll see."

Rubio has not played since severely spraining his left ankle on Nov. 7 in Orlando. He has missed the last 42 games.

Veteran Mo Williams said he expects to play after missing the last two games because of a hip pointer.

That would give the Wolves three options at point guard tonight against a Mavericks team missing starting point guard Rajon Rondo.

Newly signed Lorenzo Brown had to play all but five seconds in Saturday's home loss to Cleveland because he was the only healthy point guard the Wolves had.

Rookie Zach LaVine won't play tonight, btw. He missed Saturday's game because of an ankle he sprained Friday in Philadelphia.

Flip Saunders said Saturday that Rubio would likely play "a few minutes" in his return.

Apparently, Rubio only returns against the Mavericks. They were the team he faced in December 2012 in his return after nine months gone following knee surgery. He was supposed to be play very limited minutes that night, too, and ended up delivering an 18-minute, 9-assist performance achieved mostly through the rush of adrenaline.

Asked if he was tempted to play Saturday when Kevin Love returned to Target Center on an emotional sold-out night, he said, "As soon as I step up in the warmups, the arena was already full. It was a great atmosphere but I wasn't feeling ready. So let's see tonight."

Rubio and some of his teammates, including Gorgui Dieng and Robbie Hummel, watched Sunday's Super Bowl at former teammate J.J. Barea's place in Dallas.

"We had a bet between him and me," Rubio said. "He bet for the Patriots, I bet for the Seahawks and it didn't go well. It was a straight bet and I almost got it. I don't know they didn't go for Marshawn Lynch, but it was a fun game to watch."

The Mavericks said today that Rondo will miss at least three games because of nasal and orbital bone fractures sustained when Orlando's Richard Jefferson inadvertently kneed him in the face in Saturday's game.

Devin Harris will start in his place.

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