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.
The Wolves are back home tonight, 24 hours after thumping the Pistons in Detroit 121-94.
Tonight, they've got Philadelphia in the second half of back-to-back games.
Before the game, Rick Adelman gave updates on injured Ronny Turiaf and Chase Budinger, both of whom remain out.
On Turiaf's fractured elbow, Adelman said, "He's not there at all yet. It's just healing a lot slower than they anticipated. It's just a slower process the doctors thought and he thought. He's getting better, but I think it will be a while yet."
He said he didn't know who'd return first, which is a surprising because I -- and others -- had assumed Turiaf will be back before Budinger, who coming off a second knee surgery.
"We're hoping Chase can practice the next couple weeks and then we'll see where he goes from there," Adelman said. "Right now, they're both unknown."
Kevin Love was back at practice today after missing Saturday's loss to Miami because of the death of his grandmother back in Portland.
He declined to talk to media members after today's practice at Target Center, but is headed with the team to Detroit this afternoon for Tuesday's game there against the Pistons.
"He's fine," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "He went through the whole practice and seems good."
Also today, the NBA announced overnight that it has fined Corey Brewer $5,000 for what it deemed a flop against Miami and LeBron James Saturday night.
Brewer hit arms with James as both went up for a rebound and Brewer bounced away, his arms flailing from the contact.
He had already been warned once this season, so got fined $5K for this transgression and will be fined $10K if he penalized for another.
Here's the video of it if you haven't seen it, so decide for yourself...
Kevin Love's status for Saturday's game against the Heat at Target Center is uncertain after the Timberwolves star left the team today because of the death of his grandmother.
The Wolves flew back to Minneapolis today after their Wednesday night game against the Spurs in Mexico City was scrapped because of a fire in the arena.
Love's maternal grandmother, Carol Lee Craig, passed away Wednesday. The Wolves released this statement this afternoon:
“The Timberwolves organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing late last night of Carol Lee Craig, Kevin Love’s maternal grandmother. The Timberwolves send our condolences to the Love family in this difficult time. Kevin will not be at practice on Friday, and his status for Saturday’s game against Miami at Target Center is presently unknown.”
"Regrettably, Kevin will not be able to fulfill his scheduled community appearances on Friday at East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center in Minneapolis, and the Sprint store location in Roseville. He was scheduled to be at each location to meet and greet fans and gather coats for the annual Kevin Love Coat Drive."
It's game day here in Mexico City, where the Wolves and San Antonio Spurs will tip off at the new Mexico City Arena (I wonder how much the town spent for those naming rights?) Arena at 8:30 p.m. Twin Cities time.
The late start isn't because of a designated time slot for an ESPN or TNT game.
No, rather it's cultural: Mexico City residents work until 6 pm usually and the rush-hour traffic in a metropolitan area of nearly 30 million people is horrible, so dinnertime isn't until 8:30 or 9 and so, too, is the timing for sportnig events.
Tonight's game is on FSN by the way, or NBA TV as well if you're elsewhere.
One thing you watch for: Mexico City is situated at 7,300 feet, a good bit higher than even Denver.
Rick Adelman had his players scrimmage to start Tuesday's practice here, just to see what effect the altitude at this height might have . And he noticed it quickly.
Kevin Martin said he noticed it when the team arrived on Monday. He was just lounging around his hotel room and felt out of breath and knew he wasn't that out of shape.
We'll see if that gives the younger Wolves an advantage.
In case you missed it in the paper or the web site, here's some catching up from the last two days here ni Mexico City:
* Spanish-speaking Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea drew a media crowd at Tuesday's practice. Here's my story for today's paper on the scene and the Wolves getting adjusted to that altitude. There's the Wolves Daily video for this morning -- from high above Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma -- attached as well.
And if you're not on the mobile site, go to the links to the right of the story and click on the photo of Pek and AJ Price showing off the latest in Latin America fashion.
* If you're wondering why the Wolves have gone all the way to Mexico City to play a regular-season "home" game, here's the explanation from Tuesday's paper.
There's also Tuesday's Wolves Daily video attached to that, too.
Look for Thursday's Wolves Daily video and hopefully some post-game locker room video after tonight's game, if the iffy Internet down here obliges.
The Wolves get their second look at the Thunder in a month tonight in Oklahoma City, but this time the Thunder has All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook didn't play the last time these teams played, on Nov. 1 at Target Center because of a second knee surgery that kept him out of the season's first two games.
The Wolves held Kevin Durant to just 13 points that night -- well, Corey Brewer mostly did -- and the Wolves thumped the Thunder 100-81.
He's back now, in a big way after hitting that desperation three-pointer from the corner that beat Golden State by a point on Friday at home.
The Thunder, btw, tonight end a six-game homestand, one of two they have this season.
While they've been home for nearly two weeks, the Wolves will have played eight games in six different cities and six of those games were in three sets of back-to-backs.
"It's good to be home," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whose team is undefeated at home (8-0).
Rick Adelman didn't plan to play newcomer Luc Mbah a Moute 26 minutes -- and nearly all of the fourth quarter -- in Saturday's victory at Dallas, but did so because his team had the lead and the defense of both Mbah a Moute and Dante Cunningham helped them keep it.
It'll be interesting to see tonight how much he uses Brewer on Westbrook and Mbah a Moute on Durant.
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