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.

Barea expects to play tonight

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves pre-game, On the road, Wolves news Updated: March 3, 2012 - 8:34 PM

J.J. Barea ran and shot without as much as a limp at the Wolves' morning shootaround today and afterward said he expects to play tonight against the Trail Blazers in Portland.

"I feel a lot better, I feel great," he said. "These two days helped. I'm going to try to give it a go tonight."

He will wear a compressive sleeve tonight on that calf that he injured Wednesday against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Barea missed Thursday's game at Phoenix because of the injury.

There's playoff implications to this one tonight, considering you've got the 18-18 Blazers and the 18-19 Wolves chasing that eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

There's also all sort of connections between the teams, on both sides.

From the Minnesota end...

Rick Adelman has lived in Oregon since he took a junior-college job in the 1970s and coached the Blazers as an assistant and head coach for 11 years until 1994.

David Kahn grew up here and still considers it home and, of course, Love grew up here, too.

Assistant coach Terry Porter's No. 30 playing jersey is retired in the Rose Garden rafters after a long career here.

Martell Webster was drafted by the Blazers and played his first six seasons here, not far from his home up the freeway a piece in Seattle.

Assistant coach Bill Bayno was a Blazers assistant here before getting hired by the Wolves last summer.

From the Blazers side...

Monticello's own Joel Przybilla signed last week to return to Portland after being wooed by both Miami and Chicago in free agency.

Blazers trainer Jay Jensen was the Timberwolves' original trainer and assistant coach Dean Cooper used to be an assistant coach and a scout with the Wolves.

I think that about covers it, unless you want to include Blazers forward Luke Babbitt, whom Portland took in 2010 with the 16th pick they got from the Wolves for Webster.

And the Wolves tried to sign shooting guard Jamal Crawford in December, but he opted to go with the Blazers instead and now is starting at point guard for them.

Keep an eye on Crawford in the coming 11 days before the trade deadline: He said before tonight's game that he came "really close" to signing with the Wolves in December.

"I really thought they were a team on the rise," Crawford said. "Their young guys have gotten better, obviously with Rubio coming in. I'm a big fan of Coach of Adelman. He's really laid back. He's an old-school coach. He's got some great, great, great stuff offensively. I can't take credit and say I saw them being right there in the thick of things (a playoff race) but I definitely saw them being a lot better than they were last year.

"Toward the end of it, I wasn't sure how interested or serious they were. I think they wanted me to be more patient and at that time, I was kind of running out of time. I wanted to be in camp before the season started."

With the Blazers in danger of imploding here -- they've lost five of their last seven at home and are a long way from that team that started the season 7-2 -- and with the Blazers able to terminate Crawford's deal after this season, they just might be willing to deal him away for something if the Wolves coming calling.

That is all for now from Portland.

If you don't hear from me on the blog after the game tonight, it's because I ran out of time trying to catch a red-eye flight bound for home after being on the road for 10 days.

Maybe I'll check in from the plane if I don't right after the game.

 

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