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On the Wolves

Updating you year-round on the Timberwolves

Rubio out for Wolves Friday night vs. Kings

UPDATE: Ricky Rubio will NOT play tonight, the Wolves announced about 35 minutes before tipoff in Sacramento. He is still dealing with soreness in his left ankle. The Wolves say Rubio wanted to play, but is being held out as a precaution.

The Wolves just wrapped up morning shootaround in Sacramento and interim head coach Sam Mitchell said he won't know until pre-game warmups whether either starting point guard Ricky Rubio or reserve forward Nemanja Bjelica will play.

Rubio did not play down the stretch of Wednesday's home victory over Atlanta because his left ankle was hurting. Yes, that's the same ankle that caused him to miss much of last season and that required surgery in April. Wolves call it "soreness" in their injury report.

Bjelica has missed the last three games because of a knee contusion.

"I wish I did know," Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "It would help me make a game plan if I knew who was playing, but that would be too easy, wouldn't it?"

If Rubio can't play -- and you can be sure the team will be cautious with him at this point -- that'll leave a tough test at the point for Zach LaVine against Rajon Rondo, who has four triple-double already this season and is playing like his old self for George Karl.

The Kings list star center DeMarcus Cousins as doubtful -- a term they define as less than a 25 percent chance of playing -- for tonight's game at Sleep Train Arena.

He missed Wednesday's game at Milwaukee because of a lower back strain.

"They're a different basketball team when DeMarcus plays," Mitchell said. "Obviously, a guy scoring 28, 29 a game, he's a great player. He can play inside and outside. I mean, he's third on the team in three-point attempts and he makes them. So it's not just like he's taking them. When you look at what he does, he's probably the most complete offensive center in the game."

One other thing:

* Injured center Nikola Pekovic ran some sprints along the baseline after shootaround. The team said he started light running a few weeks ago, but this was first time I've seen him getting up and down.

He remains out indefinitely because of that April surgery on his Achilles. He said at training camp's start that he hoped to be back playing by sometime in December, but there's been no recent injury update on him from the team so far.

Wolves expect stiff test from Atlanta in rematch of Nov. 9 victory

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

There. I wrote it. I know it’s a cliché, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. And when you’re talking about the Timberwolves’ 117-107 victory in Atlanta Nov. 9, it applies. The Wolves came out on fire in that game playing what most would agree is the best half of basketball this season while building a 72-42 halftime lead against a Hawks team that had won seven straight.

Then the Hawks roared back, pulling within nine after a 42-21 third quarter and even taking a lead in the fourth before the Wolves finished the game on an 11-0 run to win. So, the Wolves played great, they played horribly, then they showed grit at the end. What does that game, in its entirety, tell them heading into tonight’s rematch with the Hawks at Target Center?

“It shows we have to finish,” rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns said. “The race is not over halfway, just because you have a great lead. We have to continue to play and finish the game the way we started. Don’t get lazy.’’

Tonight’s rematch will be interesting. The Wolves are coming off their first home win. The Hawks – who beat Boston by 24 at home Tuesday – will be finishing a back-to-back. But you have to figure Atlanta will have a lot for the Wolves tonight, considering how that game went in Atlanta a couple weeks ago.

They key will be to play like they did in the first half of that game, not the way they did to start the second. “To be up 30 in one half? It’s crazy,” said Zach LaVine. “We need to come out with that same aggression, that same concept.’’

Here are some other items from today’s shootaround:

--The players we talked to today said getting that first home victory – over Philadelphia Monday – was a big hurdle. “Yes, but we know we have to play really hard tonight. Because we just beat Atlanta on their home court. We know they’ll try to return the favor.’’

--It appears Nikola Pekovic is progressing in his rehab from surgery on his Achilles. Already doing some light running, Pek did some two-on-none drills with Ricky Rubio after the shootaround today.

Have a good rest of your day.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Vikings at Atlanta

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Timberwolves at L.A. Clippers

    2:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers men's hockey

    6:35 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Clemson at Gophers men's basketball

    8 pm on ESPN2, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Chicago

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Orlando at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Duke

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • Toronto at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Ohio State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    7:07 pm

  • South Dakota at Gophers men's basketball

    2 pm on 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    3:07 pm

  • Colorado at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Ohio State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on ESPNEWS, 1500-AM

  • Portland at Timberwolves

    7:05 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Seattle at Vikings

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

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Today's Scoreboard

  • Oakland



    - 2nd, 13:28



  • New Orleans



    - 2nd, 10:21



  • Buffalo

    Kansas City


    - 2nd, 13:35



  • Minnesota



    - 2nd, 8:34



  • Miami

    NY Jets


    - End 1st



  • San Diego



    - 2nd, 12:10



  • NY Giants



    - 2nd, 12:24



  • St. Louis



    - 2nd, 10:22



  • Tampa Bay



    - 2nd, 9:32



  • Arizona

    San Francisco

    3:05 PM


  • Pittsburgh


    3:25 PM


  • New England


    7:30 PM


  • Florida


    1:00 PM

  • Milwaukee


    1:00 PM

  • Minnesota

    LA Clippers

    2:30 PM

  • Boston


    5:00 PM

  • Phoenix


    5:00 PM

  • Philadelphia


    5:00 PM


  • Detroit


    5:00 PM

  • Houston

    New York

    6:30 PM

  • Indiana

    LA Lakers

    8:30 PM

  • Portland

    FC Dallas

    4:00 PM


  • Columbus

    New York

    6:30 PM