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.
Just an update from earlier:
Nikola Pekovic won't play tonight. It'll be the 13th consecutive game he has missed.
The Wolves again will start Dante Cunningham in the frontcourt alongside Kevin Love and Corey Brewer.
Kevin Martin, as I reported in the blog post from this morning's shootaround, won't play either.
The status of both Pekovic and Martin for Saturday's game at Sacramento is unknown at this point.
Kevin Martin won't play tonight at Phoenix after visting a hand specialist on Monday in Los Angeles and Nikola Pekovic sounded doubtful that he could play either.
Martin declined an interview request after the team's morning shootaround. A team spokesman said Martin's fractured left thumb is "progressing well" but he won't play tonight and is uncertain for Saturday's game at Sacramento, the fourth game on this five-game trip.
Pekovic worked out hard on his own with the team's coaching and training staff at Arizona State on Monday after the team arrived from Portland and said he needs more treatment and a workout later today before he knows whether he can play "some minutes" tonight.
The team called him "questionable" for the game, but he sounded more unlikely than that.
"I still can't really promise anything, unfortunately," he said. "I would play to play today. Still I got to do some things and we'll see how that goes. I mean, I wish I could tell you 100 percent, but I didn't do know.":
Pekovic played just six minutes in a Jan. 27 game at Chicago and hasn't played since then. Tonight will be his 13th consectuive missed game.
After that Chicago game, the team announced Pekovic had bursitis in his ankle and would be re-evaluated seven to 10 days later.
"It's just tough, going through all this stuff," he said. "I'm trying to make it better. I try to work really hard and I can't really play. All of a sudden, you feel pain and sometimes, you don't feel pain. Sometimes I don't know what's really right or what's not. It has just been really frustrating to em. It was like seven to 10 days and now it has been like four weeks. It's one of those things that's really frustrating. I really want to play."
The NBA today named Kevin Love its Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Love won in the West was Charlotte's Kemba Walker won in the East.
Love did so in a week when he reached his first career triple-double -- 37 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists -- in Saturday's 121-104 victory at Utah and led the Wolves to a 2-1 week.
He averaged 36.7 points -- the league's best -- and 12.7 rebounds in those three games and now has scored 30 or more points in five consecutive games, a franchise record by one game over Kevin Garnett.
Love won the award in the first week of the season, too.
These are the first two times in his six-year NBA career that he has won the honor.
Somebody asked Portland coach Terry Stotts before tonight's game against the Timberwolves at Moda Center if he wanted to limit things to a 6-feet and under game tonight.
"No, let's play the real thing, " he said.
Expect both teams to go small: The Blazers are missing All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge as well as injured big men Joel Freeland and Meyers Leonard while the Wolves once again will play without their top two centers -- starter Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf -- as well as starting shooting guard Kevin Martin.
Martin did go through what looked like a pretty complete workout before tonight's game, putting his fracture left thumb through paces that included regular motions he'd use trying to catch and shoot the ball for the first time since he was injured at New Orleans earlier this month.
He had that left thumb taped only, no splint like he had been wearing because he said he won't be able to catch the ball and put it on the floor wearing a splint in games.
He flies to Los Angeles Monday morning to get a second opinion from a hand specialist there and will rejoin the team in Phoenix Monday night.
Nikola Pekovic worked out at length before tonight's game at Jazz but will not play.
With both Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf out, Rick Adelman instead will start Dante Cunningham in the frontcourt alongside Kevin Love and Corey Brewer and then improvise from there, using rookie Gorgui Dieng as much as Dieng can avoid fast foul trouble.
The Jazz, meanwhile, will play without starting forward Derrick Favors, who will missed his third consecutive game with a hip strain.
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