Now with third team, Flynn excited for his opportunity to play

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 1, 2012 - 11:44 PM

Timberwolves point guard Luke Ridnour shot over former teammate Jonny Flynn on Sunday night.

Photo: Rick Bowmer, AP

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PORTLAND, ORE.— Former Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn is starting over again, for the second time in nine months.

This time, he's doing it in Portland, two time zones away from previous NBA chances in Minnesota and Houston.

"It's almost like being back in college again, without the blizzards and the classes," Flynn said of a city where the NBA team is the only game in town, like when he played at Syracuse. "It's family, so much love, a one-show pony out here. You've got the Portland Trail Blazers and nothing else. I'm definitely happy to be here. They're giving me a chance to go out there and play, and that's all you can ask for."

Flynn is playing backup minutes behind Blazers starting point guard Raymond Felton after the team did a complete franchise makeover at the trade deadline, firing coach Nate McMillan and replacing him with 33-year-old former video coordinator Kaleb Canales while also dealing away Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby.

"We know he brings pace and tempo," Canales said of Flynn. "We talked to him about pushing the basketball. He has worked his tail off for us. He's excited to be here. We're just trying to put him in the best possible position."

No Pek at play

Injured starting center Nikola Pekovic accompanied the Wolves to Portland for the quick two-game trip, but backup center Darko Milicic did not.

Pekovic worked out before Sunday's game -- his first court work in more than a week because of bone spurs on his right ankle -- but did not play.

He said he is hopeful he can play Monday at Sacramento, but coach Rick Adelman wasn't optimistic about that.

"The training staff felt they were better off having him here, watching him and see how he progresses rather than just have him sitting at home," Adelman said. "Everybody's hoping he'll play tomorrow. I guess I'm taking the pessimistic view, because that's just sort of the way it has gone this season."

Where's Darko?

Milicic has played in only one of the Wolves' past 12 games -- he started March 18 at Sacramento -- and clearly has become the last player on Adelman's bench, even if he doesn't always sit there.

The team said he didn't make the trip because of a right hamstring strain.

Adelman recently said he has little faith playing Milicic, partly because he has not kept himself in shape while he was not playing like teammates Anthony Tolliver and Wayne Ellington did.

Would-be Wolf

The Wolves faced Portland guard Jamal Crawford for the first time since they nearly acquired the shooting guard at last month's trade deadline.

The three-way deal that would have sent Michael Beasley to the Los Angeles Lakers, a first-round pick from L.A. to Portland and Crawford to the Wolves collapsed when the Wolves refused to take back Derek Fisher's $3.4 million contract option for next season.

"Honestly, I think it was pretty close," Crawford said Sunday. "I thought something might happen. It was just out there too much."

Beasley on Sunday missed his fourth game in the past six because of a troublesome sprained big toe he injured in Phoenix on March 12, three days before the trade deadline. He has played sparingly, and not very effectively, since then.

Etc.

• Wolves guard J.J. Barea also did not make the trip because of a bruised thigh sustained at Oklahoma City on March 23. He missed his fifth consecutive game because of it Sunday.

• Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the starting lineup after missing Friday's loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles because of a sprained elbow. He had 26 points and eight rebounds. Minnesota's own Joel Przybilla did not play because of a knee sprain sustained in that game.

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