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.
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...
In a mild surprise, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said he will start Luc Mbah a Moute in place of the absent Kevin Love in tonight’s game against the Heat at Target Center.
It is simply a matter of matchups, Adelman said. “They’ve got two tough guys in LeBron (James) and (Dwyane) Wade and we’re just trying to give us our best chance,” Adelman said. “With Kevin out, we’re going to have to defend to stay in the game. So we’ll start him. It gives us more flexibility. I can bring Dante Cunningham off the bench.’’
It should be noted that Adelman was talking about this before the Heat announced that Michael Beasley, the former Wolves player now coming off the bench in Miami, was out with a sore hamstring. We’ll have to see if that affects Adelman’s rotation.
But it’s clear he feels the team needs to defend to have a chance. Well, that and score points. Kevin Martin will be looked upon to score. And, given Miami’s recent troubles defending in the paint, it figures that Nikola Pekovic will be looked to early and often. “Pek and (Martin) are two guys who have to score,” Adelman said.
In other news:
--Wade said he’s frustrated having to deal with injuries that have kept him out of a handful of games. But he’s good to go tonight.
--Adelman missed practice Friday to be there for his son David (also a Wolves assistant) and his wife Jenny, who was about to give birth to their first child. All the news is good. Leonard Joseph (LJ) Adelman was born Friday at about 6 p.m. It is Adelman’s eighth grandchild, third grandson.
--Adelman said Love, who is away with family after the death of his grandmother, is expected back in Minnesota Sunday. Adelman said Love should be here to practice with the team Monday and accompany the team to Detroit for Tuesday’s game.
Not a huge amount of news to be had at today’s shootarounds, other than a confession from Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra that he bussed the short distance to the Target Center from the Heat hotel because of the cold. “I usually walk,” he said. “Not today. I feel a little guilty about that.’’
Everybody was present at the Miami shootaround, but Spoelstra didn’t say for sure whether guard Dwyane Wade would play. Wade has missed a few games with knee soreness and was held out of Miami’s loss in Chicago earlier this week with an illness. My guess is he’ll play.
Meanwhile, over at the Wolves….
Wolves coach Rick Adelman is a grandpa, again. And his son David – a Wolves assistant – and his wife Jenny are new parents to a baby boy.
Adelman doesn’t talk after morning shoots, so we don’t know for sure who will start in place of Kevin Love, who is back home after the death of his grandmother. But the guess here is Dante Cunningham.
I’ll get back to you with more specifics after the coaches talk pre-game. …. Stay warm.
A couple key folks weren’t at Timberwolves practice Friday.
Kevin Love was away with family after hearing about his grandmother’s death. Coach Rick Adelman, meanwhile, was with his son David, whose wife was about to give berth.
Adelman is expected back behind the bench Saturday when the Wolves host Miami. Love, though, mostly likely will not be here, according to Terry Porter, who ran practice in Adelman’s absence today.
“I wouldn’t think he’d be able to play tomorrow,” Porter said. “I don’t think he’s probably going to be back by then. I’m pretty sure it would be tough for him to be back.”
That will make Saturday’s game that much harder. The Heat are one of the two gold-standard teams in an otherwise weak Eastern Conference. And they’ve lost two straight games. Miami hasn’t lost three straight regular season games since Jan. of 2012.
With Love the Wolves would have been more capable of getting some inside points against the Heat. Without him, it will be hard to stop LeBron James and company. Dwyane Wade, who missed Thursday’s game with an illness – and who has missed a few games with knee soreness – didn’t play Thursday in a 20-point loss in Chicago but should play Saturday.
Porter didn’t say who would start in Love’s place, deferring that decision to Adelman Saturday. But the best bet is Dante Cunningham. But it could also mean extra minutes for Luc Mbah a Moute, whose defensive skills will be needed against James.
In other items:
--Chase Budinger continues to improve following knee surgery. Still not cleared for basketball activity, Budinger did mix in a few dunks with his post-practice shooting today.
That’s about all for now. I’ll get back to you after tomorrow’s morning shoot.
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."
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