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.

In Shabazz the Wolves trust, for a summer-league teaching moment

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves players, Wolves news Updated: July 16, 2013 - 2:05 PM

Wolves finish up the final of their first three scheduled Vegas Summer League games today before double-elimination tournament play begins tomorrow.

Before we get to today's 3 p.m. Central time game vs. Miami -- the only one of the first three televised live on NBA TV -- let's go back for a moment to Monday's 83-81 last-second loss to Phoenix, the one in which they led by 24 points early and lost on Marcus Morris' buzzer-beating shot from the right wing.

That shot followed the first big Shabazz Muhammad moment as a Timberwolf.

WIth the game tied and the Wolves in possession of the ball, summer-league coach David Adelman drew up a game-ending play for Muhammad that got him the ball along the left sideline in the final 10 seconds with the options of finding a man cutting down the lane to the basket or going one-on-one on his guy.

That's the situation he has been in all his life -- ball in his hand, game on the line -- except of course for, to mention one thing, that game against Washington last winter when he was none too thrilled that the ball went to UCLA teammate Larry Drew Jr., who made the winning shot.

As has happened more than once so far in two Vegas games, Muhammad swung the ball low while he assessed the situation and got the ball swiped from his hands from an aggressive defender, Markieff Morris in this case.

The Suns ended up with the ball, a timeout with 3.3 seconds and ultimately a clutch game winning shot from the other Morris twin, Marcus.

Muhammad ended up after his turnover sitting on the floor, rubbing his whacked nose after Markieff Morris sprawled himself across the floor - and into Muhammad -  to make the defensive play.

Summer-league coach David Adelman was asked how he thought Muhammad would handle that moment.

"I think Shabazz has been through a lot in the last year, where this is just one day and he'll forget  about it," David Adelman said. "We'll talk about it. We gave him the ball because we trust him. It was an option play: Find the cutter down the middle and make the pass or go 1-on-1. Unfortunately, they switched a bigger guy on him and he lost the ball. That happens to better and worse players than him.

"It's a summer-league game and he'll a lot from it. Those guys (the Morris twins) are NBA-contract players and I thought he played great."

Muhammad played 22 1/2 minutes, made 3 of 9 shots from the field, 1 of 4 from three-point range and only 1 of 5 from the foul line. He scored eight points, had two rebounds, a foul and a turnover.

The Wolves are 0-2 heading into today's game against the Heat after also losing to the D League Select team on Saturday.

 

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