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 injury list got a little longer Wednesday. Backup point guard J.J. Barea will miss tonight’s game with back spasms and a sore neck. Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Barea got hit during Tuesday’s victory over San Antonio.
Add Barea’s name to a list that already includes Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Chase Budinger (ankle), Kevin Martin (foot) and Shabazz Muhammad (knee).
So what does that mean? That the Wolves will have only 10 healthy players available for tonight’s game, and one of those is recently-signed guard/forward Othyus Jeffers. It also means that Alexey Shved, who has seen his playing time dwindle as the season wore on, might get a bunch of minutes tonight.
“He and Ricky (Rubio), they’re our point guards tonight,” Adelman said. “So we’ll have to go with Alexey, and he’ll have to step up.”
It will be the same starting lineup for the Wolves: Rubio with Robbie Hummel, Kevin Love, Gorgui Dieng and Corey Brewer.
Some injury news tonight in Miami:
* Kevin Martin is a late scratch because of a sore right foot and will not play tonight against the Heat.
J.J. Barea will start in the backcourt alongside Ricky.
* Nikola Pekovic won't play again, so Gorgui Dieng gets the start at center again.
* Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden won't play for the Heat, but Ray Allen will try to play after missing five games because of a stomach virus.
Also, Dante Cunningham was charged in Hennepin County court this afternoon with a felony count of domestic assault by strangulation.
The details aren't pretty. Here's our story on the Star Tribune web site.
Nikola Pekovic is out tonight against Memphis at Target Center after he played fewer than seven minutes Monday against the Clippers because of that troublesome ankle but...
Ronny Turiaf is back.
The Wolves' backup center is available to play for the first time since sustained a knee mone bruise in a Feb. 19 game against Indiana.
How much and how well he'll play, well...
He said he's been ramping up his activity the last two weeks, doing more intensive work on the treadmill and 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 5-on-0 courtwork that has included some spirited 1-on-1 games with executive Calvin Booth.
"I don't know," he said when asked how much he expects to play. "I'm dressing. We'll see what happens."
He'll come off the bench behind rookie Gorgui Dieng, who moves back into the starting lineup with Pekovic out again.
Coach Rick Adelman said he believes Pekovic still is just day to day and not done for the year with just nine games remaining.
Greetings from Target Center, where the Wolves will play the Clippers, starting in about an hour.
A few things from pre-game interviews with the coaches:
--Clippers power forward Blake Griffin will miss tonight's game due to back spasms.
--And Jamal Crawford, one of the best sixth men in the league, will also not play due to a sore calf that has been bothering him.
--Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders had a rather lengthy pre-game meeting in Rivers’ office. The two go way back, of course. In 2001 Saunders was the head coach of the U.S. team in the Goodwill Games and Rivers was an assistant. And Saunders acted as a consultant for Rivers’ Celtics team during the playoffs two seasons ago.
--Rivers also gave a lot of praise to Wolves coach Rick Adelman, whose future coaching the Wolves is uncertain. Rivers said that, while coaching the Celtics, he copied one of Adelman’s plays and won a game with it. ‘’We called the play, ‘Adelman,’ ‘’ Rivers said.
--Wolves-wise, Adelman said Kevin Love, who talked about being exhausted after Sunday’s loss in Brooklyn, was OK to play tonight. And while he acknowledged that Love’s minutes are difficult ones considering the double-teams and physical play he deals with, he said Love has to play through it.
--Adelman also said he believes San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich deserves to be named coach of the year for the job he’s done with the Spurs this season.
That’s about all for now. I’ll get back to you after the game.
Wolves center Nikola Pekovic came through Friday night's 21-minute return after six games away injured fine apparently and will start tonight against the Nets in Brooklyn.
Former Wolves Kevin Garnett (back spasms) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) are out again for the Nets. So, too, is Nets center Brook Lopez.
The Nets are going for their 13th consecutive home victory, which would tie the franchise record set in 2002.
They're also aiming for the 12th victory in March, which would match the most in the Nets' NBA history.
They haven't lost at Barclays Center since a Jan. 31 loss to Oklahoma City, 120-95.
A couple other things before tonight's 6 p.m. Central time tip:
* Kevin Love sat on a dolly outside the Wolves' locker room before tonight's game and chatted at length with agent Jeff Schwartz, who is based in New York City.
* Corey Brewer sat at his locker room before the game and calculated the Wolves' upcoming schedule to see if he could get to Dallas to watch his Florida Gators play in the Final Four.
The Wolves play Saturday night at Orlando, so the semifinal game is out. They don't play that Monday night -- championship-game night -- but then play San Antonio and Chicago at home back to back Tuesday and Wednesday.
Teammate A.J. Price sat beside him and told him don't worry about Monday because the Gators won't be playing then anyway.
Yes, Price's UConn Huskies advanced to the Final Four on Sunday and will play Brewer's Gators on Saturday.
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