MEMPHIS - Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman made it to Memphis 20 minutes before Sunday's 5 p.m. opening tip and walked onto his team's bench nearly four minutes into a loss to the Grizzlies after he sat out on a commercial aircraft for hours at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
Adelman, like everybody else at the airport Sunday morning, was delayed by the icy snowstorm that blew across Minnesota.
"It just kept being delayed, delayed, delayed, delayed," Adelman said. "Didn't really want to sit on the plane for five hours, but that's what happened. They let us know on the plane the airport was closed. It would have been nice to let us know out in the lobby area rather than sit on the airplane the whole time. But that's all right. I've been through worse things this year."
"He had a little flight problem," Wolves forward Dante Cunningham said. "I guess that's just another part of our season, just keep going forward."
No go for J.J.
Wolves guard J.J. Barea came back from Sunday's pregame warmups saying he would try to play, then went back to the locker room just minutes before the opening tip because the foot he sprained Friday against New York wouldn't let him play effectively.
"It wasn't even close," he said. "Too much pain to go through it. It was too much."
Barea iced the foot, then returned to the bench to be with his teammates late in the first quarter for moral support.
"I'm going to try again. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow morning," Barea said after Sunday's game, referring to Monday's game at Cleveland. "And hopefully we'll go from there."
The Wolves also played without starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who missed his second consecutive game because of a strained quad.
Who could have been ...
Rookie guard Alexey Shved is on a two-day tour of teams -- Memphis one night, Cleveland next -- who were among his finalists before he chose to sign with the Wolves last summer.
Shved visited only Minnesota after playing an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament last July and signed a three-year contract even though both the Grizzlies and Cavs were interested in him.
The determining factor in Shved's decision?
"The coach," he said before Sunday's game, referring to Adelman.
Memphis in meantime
Cunningham returned to Memphis for the first time since the Grizzlies traded him for Wayne Ellington last summer. Memphis has since traded Ellington to Cleveland, the Wolves' Monday opponent.
"Mixed emotions," he said. "Love the guys here, love the organization, but we had a job to do and I had to put everything else to the side."
Cunningham helped carry the Grizzlies through when injured power forward Zach Randolph missed much of last season, but became expendable when Randolph returned in March after missing more than two months.
"I like Dante, he did a great job when he was here," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "We wouldn't have had the season we had without him or without Mo Speights."
Speights since has been traded, too, along with Ellington in a four-player deal with the Cavaliers that was all about the salary-cap luxury-tax threshold.