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.
Nikola Pekovic was scratched from tonight's game at Utah because of a calf contusion and was replaced in the starting lineup by backup Greg Stiemsma.
Dante Cunningham warmed up before tonight's game and said he's ready to play after missing Wednesday's game against the Clippers in Los Angeles.
That will keep Rick Adelman from playing Derrick Williams 36 straight minutes as he did in L.A. until sitting Williams and three other starters for the entire fourth quarter because the game was a blowout.
The Jazz have three games left -- two of them against the Wolves, including Monday at Target Center -- and are chasing the Lakers for the West's eighth and final playoff from a game behind.
The Lakers play their final three games all at home.
It figures, doesn't it?
Tonight's Wolves-Raptors game from Target Center is not being televised locally -- one of four Wolves game this year not so carried -- and of course it's the night Rick Adelman goes for career victory No. 1000.
Just off the top of my head...Wolves fans also never saw Kevin Love's 30-30 game back in 2010 and Ricky Rubio's first career start last year as well.
Adelman's wife Mary Kay, btw, will attend tonight's game, as she has done most home games recently.
And as long as I mentioned Love...
He was not cleared today for full contact -- remember last week they said he'd be re-evaluated this week? -- and now he'll be evaluated again early next week, the team says.
The leaves only about a week in the season and only a handful of games.
Sure sounds like he's not going to play again, right?
Adelman says he still would like to see Love play, even if for a few games.
"My stance is still the same," he said. "If he's cleared to play, we'll address it at that time. But it has been going on sl long now that we'll just stay with the guys we have and see what happens."
This sounds like the Timberwolves, doesn't it?
The Celtics make their only visit to the Target Center tonight and this time they'll be without all of their new Big Three.
That means no Kevin Garnett, no Rajon Rondo and no Paul Pierce.
Rondo out for the season with that torn ACL.
Garnett is heading into the second week of what likely will be two weeks out because of an ankle/foot injury.
And Pierce is scratched tonight because of personal reasons.
Nikola Pekovic is starting at the Wolves at center, btw, after missing Saturday's loss to Memphis because of a sprained ankle.
Somebody asked Boston coach Doc Rivers before tonight's game if he remembers what life is like without those three.
"Yeah, vividly, about five years ago," he said. "It has been a while. I think it has happened before. I'm not even sure. I know we played a couple games with Ray (Allen), Paul and Kevin. We played a couple of those, but that was resting guys."
Rivers acknowledged this could possibly be the last time Garnett is scheduled to play back in Minnesota.
"I think yeah, every year we don't know if it's his last time," Rivers said. "Obviously, I hope not and we all hope not. But you never know with Kevin. Every summer he's deciding if he's coming back or not. I would hope this isn't because you would want him to play in his last game here. So let's hope it isn't."
The Lakers just completed their shootaround at Target Center this morning minus one Metta World Peace while the Wolves stayed home and rested after winning big last night in Detroit.
Jodie Meeks will start in place of World Peace for a Lakers team that's still scrapping to make the playoffs.
World Peace has returned to L.A. after an MRI taken Tuesday in Minneapolis revealed a cartilage tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee.
"I feel bad for Metta, but hopefully it's not too serious," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said after shoot. "At this time of the year, it's not easy."
The Lakers have been bit by injuries all season -- not like the Wolves mind you, but bit nonetheless.
When asked if the latest has caused him to ask what else can happen, D'Antoni said, "No, well, other stuff can happen. Don't tempt fate a little bit. It happens. Every team it happens to. Just look at Minnesota, they're just getting their guys back now and not all of them. You just fight through it."
Wolves star Kevin Love will have a CT Scan of his right hand examined by his New York surgeon later this week and he hopes to be cleared for full-contact action at that time.
But even if he is, there is no guarantee he will be on the court again this season. March 28 will mark 10 weeks since surgery to repair his broken right hand, something he's done twice this season. He will have the CT scan taken locally and sent to his doctor.
"Hopefully I'll have it cleared for contact," Love said.
But being cleared and returning to action are two different things. Love is not interested in rushing back the way he did last time. The first time he felt the pressure to return and lead the team. This time the Wolves are out of the playoff picture, so that pressure is off.
"That's something that we'll have to talk about," said Love about any potential return. "I know that I'll have the confidence to come back and play. It's just what the doctor says and what is going to be right for the team."
But there are good signs. Love said he was shooting the ball very well and that his hand is back to feeling normal. This is a big thing; after he broke the hand the first time -- surgery was not done that time -- Love said his hand never returned to feeling normal.
Not playing again this season is still a possibility, especially if this week's checkup results in his being asked to wait another week or 10 days before having the hand looked at again. But Love said he wants very much to play some this season, even if it's just a few games. "I'd like to be out there on the court," he said.
Still, Love will need some full contact workouts before he would play in a game. And with the Wolves playing so many games down the stretch, there won't be much opportunity for practice. So Love will have to simulate the full contact he gets in practice in one-on-one or two-on-two workouts with coaches and teammates.
"Injuries happen," he said. "It's been tough. But I just want to bounce back from 'em. This being my fifth year in the league, I hope to play 10 years plus after this year. Hopefully this is one of those years where you can scratch it and move forward from there."
Meanwhile, Chicago will be playing without Derrick Rose (no surprise), Rip Hamilton and Joakim Noah.
I'll get back to you after the game.
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