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.
Kevin Love still is recovering from Tuesday night’s nasty fall, but said after this morning’s shootaround in New Orleans that he will play tonight against the Pelicans in that 8:30 pm ESPN game.
“I’m feeling a little bit better, still pretty sore,” he said. “But I’m going to give it a go tonight.”
Love said he’s “very stiff, very sore” from his whiplashed neck down through his back and into his hip, on which he landed after getting fouled hard by Lakers center Robert Sacre while going to the basket late in Tuesday’s victory.
“Our training staff does a good job, so they’ll get me ready to play by tonight,” Love said. “I’m not going to talk about it too much, just keep my mindset that I’m going to play and play well.”
Love said he did hit his head on the floor Tuesday, but said he had no concussion symptoms.
“It snapped back pretty good,” he said. “I watched the replay once and that’s all I could watch it. It was a scary moment for me.”
He received treatment before Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City right up until the team’s pre-game meeting and decided about 20 minutes before the opening tip that he was too sore to play.
Asked if there’s a chance he won’t play, he said, “There’s always a chance but I’m pretty set on playing, so I’m good to go.”
Meanwhile, Corey Brewer was not at shootaround today. He is scheduled to arrive in New Orleans early this afternoon after missing Wednesday’s game so he could stay behind in Minnesota and be with his newborn son.
Kevin Love will defend his All-Star Saturday three-point championship next week in New Orleans.
Well, a year late, he will.
Love won the contest in 2012, but did not participate last season because of that hand he broke twice.
The NBA announced on tonight's TNT doubleheader pre-game show that he'll be back after a year away.
Provided, of course, that his stiff neck and the rest of him recovers by then.
He will compete against Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Washington's Bradley Beal, Brooklyn's Joe Johnson, Orlando's Arron Afflalo, Golden State's Steph Curry, San Antonio's Marco Belinelli and Portland's Damian Lillard.
Love missed Wednesday's game at Oklahoma City when he deemed his neck too stiff to play after he fell hard in Tuesday's home victory over the Lakers and his head whipped back violently in the fall.
Love survived a first-round tiebreaker with Miami's Mario Chalmers in Orlando two years ago and advanced, eventually beating Kevin Durant in the finals.
An MRI on Wolves center Nikola Pekovic's right ankle revealed bursitis, according to a release sent out by the team today.Pekovic will be sidelined from basketball activities for seven to 10 days, after which he will be re-evaluated.
Pekovic had been fighting ankle pain -- it was believed to be Achilles tendon-related -- for days leading up to Monday's game at Chicago. Pekovic started the game, but left mid-way through the first quarter when the pain became to much to play.
With a window of seven to 10 days, even the most optimistic outcome of treatment would mean Pekovic will miss at least three games. The Wolves host New Orleans on Wednesday and Memphis on Friday before playing at Atlanta Saturday. The Wolves then play four games in five nights starting Feb. 4.
Ronny Turiaf played well Monday, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds. Rookie Gorgui Dieng also figures to see significant minutes while Pekovic is healing.
Pekovic appeared in each of the Wolves' first 44 games, averaging career highs in points (18.0), rebounds (9.1) and minutes (32.5).
I guess I should have learned my lesson: Kevin Love doesn't have the scoop unless he tweets it.
He was the guy, remember, who long ago broke the news that Kevin McHale wouldn't be back as Wolves coach on Twitter.
At practice today, he was convinced he wouldn't make a late push up the voting results and when I asked if he had been told he hadn't made it, he said yes.
Well, he did, moving up from the 4th spot in the final public results released last week into the top 3 with Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin while Dwight Howard dropped from No. 2 out of a starting spot.
He's the first Wolves starter voted in since Kevin Garnett in 2007.
He called it "surreal" and didn't quite seem to believe it even an hour or more after Flip Saunders knocked on his San Francisco hotel-room door and told him the news.
Here's the story from tonight's announcement of both East and West starters on TNT.
And here's a story I did for Friday's paper, too, on how Nikola Pekovic is changing his body in some unconventional ways in an attempt to avoid injuries that have sidetracked him his first three NBA seasons.
The Wolves just finished an afternoon practice in Oakland and Kevin Love without outright saying it said he didn't make the Western Conference's starting five in worldwide fan balloting that will be announced tonight on TNT.
He has dinner plans scheduled in San Francisco tonight and said he doesn't plan on watching the announcement show, even though it starts at 4 pm here in California and 6 pm back home in Minnesota,.
He said he'll consider it a moral victory if he comes within 10,000 votes of Clippers forward Blake Griffin, whom he trailed by 17,000 in the last fan balloting results that were released last week.
"I guess the question is how close was I," he said.
The Wolves launched a fan campaign to get Love voted in as a starting, doing all kinds of promotions to encourage fans to vote for him via Twitter, Facebook, Instragram and on nba.com. But it apparently wasn't quite enough.
"It's always cool to get voted for," Love said. "It means you're popular around the league and popular in this global sport. It'd be awesome if I get it."
If the final frontcourt voting indeed remains with Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Griffin being the three starters chosen, Western Conference coaches still undoubtedly will vote Love in as a reserve.
"I still think I'll make the team," Love said.
Rick Adelman has no doubt Love will be picked to play in New Orleans next month either way.
"I don't think there should be," Adelman said. "He has had a great year. There are a lot of good forwards in the West, but he's been the most consistent guy of all the guys. I don't know where we'd be without him with the year he has had."
Other news from practice:'
Kevin Martin practiced today with that lacerated pinkie finger on this right shooting hand that he injured going for a steal Tuesday night in Utah, but Alexey Shved didn't.
Shved broke his nose in that game and Adelman said after practice today that Shved feels fine and could have practiced, but they're waiting for a protective mask to arrive that he'll wear.
Martin said he expects to play Friday against Golden State, but Adelman said he wasn't sure if Shved will play.
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