Relocated Russians take big snowstorm in stride

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2012 - 6:57 AM
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Andrei Kirilenko returned from a back injury Friday night against Cleveland, and two days later woke up to a snowstorm reminiscent of his homeland.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune file

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Here's one way to help ensure players want to stay in snowy, cold Minnesota -- a challenging proposition in most cases -- for the long haul:

Just keep collecting Russians.

Both veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko and rookie guard Alexey Shved awoke Sunday to the winter's first snowstorm and each felt right at home.

"Just like I wake up in Moscow," Shved said. "The same way."

Kirilenko played 10 NBA seasons in Salt Lake City and returned home to Moscow last season, so 10 inches of snow accumulating outside his window doesn't even make him flinch.

Both players drove through the snow to reach Sunday's practice at Target Center.

"In Russia, you can use the spikes on the tires," Kirilenko said. "In America, you cannot, right?"

Teammate Malcolm Lee grew up in Los Angeles, where he assumed it was 80 and sunny on Sunday. It was actually only about 68 and hazy.

"I've never seen this much snow in my life," said Lee, a second-year guard who played at UCLA. "Last year, it didn't really snow like that. It's different. I kind of like it."

He made the five-minute drive to work safely but not without some adventure.

"I slid about three times," he said. "Going slow, too, like 10 miles an hour and I still fishtailed. It's not far, thank God."

Let it snow

Lee wasn't the only Wolves player seemingly taken with the novelty of a good snowfall:

Ricky Rubio tweeted a photo of a kitten up to its eyeballs in the snow and welcomed everyone to "Minnesnowta."

Dante Cunningham tweeted a photo of his dog lying beside a crackling outdoor fireplace covered in snow with the caption, "Even my little man trying to get warm."

In Adelman's absence...

Wolves assistant coach Terry Porter coached Sunday's practice because head coach Rick Adelman returned home to Oregon after Friday's home victory over Cleveland.

Adelman attended a court dedication on Saturday at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore., for the athletic director who hired him for his first head-coaching job in 1977. Adelman and his wife, Mary Kay, attended the dedication held at halftime of a game against Lower Columbia.

B-Roy is back

Shooting guard Brandon Roy rejoined the team on Sunday and worked out alongside teammates in the weight room but did not practice.

He spent the past two weeks back home in the Pacific Northwest after he had arthroscopic knee surgery on Nov. 19. At the time, the team said the surgery -- his seventh knee surgery since high school -- would keep him out for the next month.

Take a break

The Wolves have a four-day break here between games, time before Wednesday's game against Denver for Kirilenko to treat his sore back, center Nikola Pekovic to heal his hurting ankle and time for Rubio to continue contact practices in preparation for his much-awaited season debut.

Asked if Rubio looks game-ready, Porter on Sunday said: "Oh, I don't know, I imagine it's a long way before that happens. There's a lot more practice he has got to get under his belt and some more evaluations before they give him the clearance. That's a medical thing. He looks good. He seems to be playing with a good confidence and a good pace, so that's good. He has done everything in our practices and scrimmages."

Find another way

The NBA on Sunday fined Cleveland coach Byron Scott $25,000 for comments he made about the officiating after Friday's 91-73 loss at Target Center. The Wolves shot 35 free throws in that game; Scott's Cavaliers shot nine.

Afterward, he said: "I am trying to figure out a way to say this without getting fined. It was that bad, it really was. It was that bad. I understand that we are playing in Minnesota. We went to the basket just as much as they get did. I think we had 38 attempts in the paint to their 34 and we get nine free throws. I think that speaks for itself."

  • WOLVES NOTES

    Up next: 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Denver • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

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