Barea back at where it all began

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2013 - 12:19 AM
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Timberwolves point guard J.J. Barea (left)

Photo: Richard Rodriguez, MCT

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DALLAS - J.J. Barea didn't get an NBA championship ring or a baby stroller when he came home Monday night.

This time, he finally got a chance to play.

The Timberwolves visited Dallas twice since the guard left the 2011 champion Mavericks for a four-year, $19 million deal with Minnesota, but both times he was injured.

Last season, he came anyway to get his prize on a night the Mavericks scheduled their title ring ceremony specifically for him.

His former teammates also left a baby stroller at his locker. It was a shower gift for Barea and his girlfriend, who were awaiting the arrival of their first baby.

Monday, he was welcomed with a smattering of polite applause when he checked into the game for the first time late in the first quarter. He scored a Wolves-high 21 points in a 113-98 loss.

"It's always special, man, always special," he said just outside the visitors' locker room before Monday's game. "This is where everything started for me. I've got a special place in my heart for this place and it's always good to be back."

Barea is the type of player other teams' fans love to hate. He was asked Monday if he expected to get booed in his first game back.

"Definitely don't get no boos," he said. "I don't know if they'll ever hate me in Dallas. The way I play, the way maybe I get some calls, stuff like that, maybe it happens. But not here."

Love surgery set

Kevin Love will undergo surgery to repair that re-fractured third metacarpal bone in his right shooting hand Tuesday in New York City.

That completes a three-day Wolves surgical trifecta there: Malcolm Lee underwent knee surgery there on Monday and will have hip surgery at a different facility on Wednesday.

Love's surgery starts his recovery clock -- eight to 10 weeks, the team says -- ticking. Dr. Michelle Carson performed the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery because Love's doctor, Andrew Weiland, still is recovering from knee surgery himself.

Porter coaches on

Top assistant Terry Porter coached his fifth consecutive game for absent coach Rick Adelman, who remained back in Minnesota beside his hospitalized wife, Mary Kay.

Porter said he expects Adelman to be involved in meetings when the team returned home late Monday night from its 0-4 road trip. But he said he doesn't know if Adelman would coach Thursday's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Moving on

Only four Mavs remain from that championship team on which Barea played only two years ago.

"I know they were trying to go a different way, but I'm surprised they went this way," Barea said about a new-look team that includes O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Vince Carter and Darren Collison. "It's changed completely. A lot, yeah."

Etc.

• The Wolves remain intent on signing European free-agent Mickael Gelabale. The question is whether they can get a visa, complete a physical, etc., to sign him by the time Lazar Hayward's 10-day contract expires Thursday. Gelabale is playing in Spain.

• Ricky Rubio played 26 minutes in the second part of back-to-back games. That was the most he has played in 10 games back from knee surgery by four minutes.

• Former Wolves executive Tony Ronzone visited with Rubio outside the team's locker room after the game. He is back scouting for the Mavericks -- the team that gave him his first NBA job -- after working for the Wolves for about a year in 2010 and 2011.

• Wolves center Nikola Pekovic continues to wear a black sleeve over his left forearm to protect a fresh tattoo depicting a grizzly bear. "It's not finished," he said. So just what does it need? "Some trees and an eagle," he said.

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