Wolves to play four of first six games, including opener, at home

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 7, 2013 - 7:32 AM
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The Minnesota Timberwolves Ricky Rubio (9) and Kevin Love (42) celebrate at the end of their 100-91 win over the Houston Rockets Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at the Target Center

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune file

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The Timberwolves will open the regular season at home against the Orlando Magic on Oct. 30, play four of their first six games at home, and appear on national television 13 times.

Of those 13 national games, eight will be on NBA TV and five on ESPN. That is one fewer than last season, when the Wolves had two on ESPN, one on ESPN2, three on TNT and eight on NBA TV.

The Wolves have two four-game home stands — Feb. 8-19 against Portland, Houston, Denver and Indiana and March 5-11 against New York, Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee — and one five-game road trip that runs from Feb. 22 through March 3 against Utah, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and Denver.

The team will have 20 back-to-backs compared with 22 last season. Of those, nine are away-away, five home-away and six away-home.

The Wolves will play 52 games against the Western Conference. They play each team four times except Golden State, New Orleans, Phoenix and San Antonio, whom they will face three times each. The Wolves play 30 games vs. the Eastern Conference, a home and home with every team.

Minnesota will play San Antonio in Mexico City on Dec. 4.

Here are some key home dates:

• Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City come here Nov. 1 for the second game of the season and return Jan. 4;

• Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 22;

• LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Dec. 7;

• Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 4 and March 28;

• Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Feb. 10 and April 11;

• Eastern Conference semifinalist Indiana on Feb. 19;

• Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks on March 5.

This is the 13th consecutive season the Wolves have opened the season at home. Overall, the Wolves are 14-10 in season openers, 12-4 at home.

Pekovic update

The Basketball Federation of Montenegro has confirmed that Wolves center Nikola Pekovic will not play in the Eurobasket tournament in September. The news was reported by two Spanish-speaking websites, including sportnando.net.

Pekovic, a restricted free agent, has yet to come to terms with the Wolves on a new contract.

The 27-year-old Pekovic has been offered a multiyear deal by the Wolves, believed to be for four years at around $48 million. Last week Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders traveled to New York to talk with Pekovic’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, to explain the team’s offer in more detail.

It is clear Pekovic and Schwartz have been working to get a better deal, though the Wolves appear relatively firm in their offer. Still, a deal — which could include incentives that could raise the deal’s total value — is expected to get done before the Wolves open training camp.

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