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.
Rick Adelman will not coach tonight's game against his former Rockets team because of what the team is calling "personal reasons" and assistant coach Terry Porter will coach for him instead.
Adelman is expected to be back for Wednesday's game against Denver, a team source said.
Kevin Love is he will play tonight even though his leg is still hurting him after he took a hit from former teammate Greg Stiemsma in Friday's game at New Orleans.
"The rest did me some good," said Love, who didn't play Saturday against Portland. "I can bend the leg a little more, but still not 100 percent but I'm going to go out there and give it a go."
The Wolves have been through this before without Adelman. Porter coached 11 games for him in January 2013 while Adelman was away from the team to be with his wife while doctors sought to diagnose why she was suddenly experiencing seizures.
The Wolves went 2-9 in those games.
The Houston Rockets tonight make their first Target Center visit this season, which means Dwight Howard comes to town for the first time as a Rocket.
It also means, of course, that Kevin McHale is back in the arena and the state he once called home.
But don't expect him to gush all warm and fuzzy about it because once again, he won't.
"It's cold, I know that much," he said when asked about the emotions of his return. "It hasn't warmed up much."
Somebody tried to engage him in a conversation about the 10th anniversary of that 2003-04 Wolves team he assembled that reached the Western Conference finals with Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell leading the way.
Don't go there, man.
"I'm not going to 2003," he said. "I forgot 2003. OK? Next question."
When asekd what his memories of Minnesota - and presumably the Wolves are - he said, "Best memories? Fishing, being with my dad hunting in woods. Those are my best memories of Minnesota."
He was better talking about Howard and how the Rockets are getting used to playing with a legitimate low-post scorer for the first time and he was better talking about how the power-forward position has changed since he played and Kevin Love has expanded the part of the "stretch 4" position.
Asked if he could see this kind of career coming for Love (whom he made that draft-night deal in 2008), McHale said, "Nah, if anybody drafts anybody besides LeBron and they tell you they saw all this, they're lying to you. But everybody lies in this business. I thought Kevin would be a double-double guy. He could really rebound, rebounded outside his area, had great hands and a really good 15 to 17 foot jump shot. And I said with that alone he could be a 15-and-10 guy. But like I said, he took it to a whole new level. Good for him. Good kid."
No word yet on whether Love will play tonight. It all depends on how much his battered and bruised body has gotten better with two more days' rest.
Wolves didn't shoot this morning and are having a 4:30 p.m. walk-through instead, so I'll know more when pre-game availablity starts at 5:30 pm.
Don't expect Nikola Pekovic or Kevin Martin to play until after the All-Star break, though.
Kevin Love still is recovering from Tuesday night’s nasty fall, but said after this morning’s shootaround in New Orleans that he will play tonight against the Pelicans in that 8:30 pm ESPN game.
“I’m feeling a little bit better, still pretty sore,” he said. “But I’m going to give it a go tonight.”
Love said he’s “very stiff, very sore” from his whiplashed neck down through his back and into his hip, on which he landed after getting fouled hard by Lakers center Robert Sacre while going to the basket late in Tuesday’s victory.
“Our training staff does a good job, so they’ll get me ready to play by tonight,” Love said. “I’m not going to talk about it too much, just keep my mindset that I’m going to play and play well.”
Love said he did hit his head on the floor Tuesday, but said he had no concussion symptoms.
“It snapped back pretty good,” he said. “I watched the replay once and that’s all I could watch it. It was a scary moment for me.”
He received treatment before Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City right up until the team’s pre-game meeting and decided about 20 minutes before the opening tip that he was too sore to play.
Asked if there’s a chance he won’t play, he said, “There’s always a chance but I’m pretty set on playing, so I’m good to go.”
Meanwhile, Corey Brewer was not at shootaround today. He is scheduled to arrive in New Orleans early this afternoon after missing Wednesday’s game so he could stay behind in Minnesota and be with his newborn son.
Kevin Love will defend his All-Star Saturday three-point championship next week in New Orleans.
Well, a year late, he will.
Love won the contest in 2012, but did not participate last season because of that hand he broke twice.
The NBA announced on tonight's TNT doubleheader pre-game show that he'll be back after a year away.
Provided, of course, that his stiff neck and the rest of him recovers by then.
He will compete against Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Washington's Bradley Beal, Brooklyn's Joe Johnson, Orlando's Arron Afflalo, Golden State's Steph Curry, San Antonio's Marco Belinelli and Portland's Damian Lillard.
Love missed Wednesday's game at Oklahoma City when he deemed his neck too stiff to play after he fell hard in Tuesday's home victory over the Lakers and his head whipped back violently in the fall.
Love survived a first-round tiebreaker with Miami's Mario Chalmers in Orlando two years ago and advanced, eventually beating Kevin Durant in the finals.
Kevin Love will not play tonight in Oklahoma City because of a stiff neck sustained in that nasty fall last night against the Lakers.
Corey Brewer did not accompany the Wolves to Oklahoma City and he also won't play, so Rick Adelman will start Luc Mbah a Moute, Ronny Turiaf and Dante Cunningham as his frontline..
Love didn't come out of the trainer's room before the game and continued to get treatment on a battered body right up until the Wolves hold their usual team meeting about 40 minutes before game time.
"He's pretty sore today, so we'll see," Rick Adelman said 90 minutes before game time.
About 20 minutes before opening tip came word that Love won't play.
With Brewer also unavailable, Luc Mban a Moute will start against Kevin Durant at small forward.
"We'll have to put Luc on him and go from there," Adelman said. "Other people will have to step up."
Love took a nasty fall late in Tuesday's victory over the L.A. Lakers at Target Center and from replays it looked like Love hit his head on the court after landing hard on his hip and back.
But Adelman said Love didn't hit his head, only sustained a sore neck from whiplash.
"It looked pretty bad," Adelman said. "He was lucky he didn't hit his head. I don't know how he stopped himself."
Rookie center Gorgui Dieng said he's fine to play tonight after he was elbowed in the cheekbone and staggered to the locker room disoriented with the help of his teammates.
Brewer didn't travel to OKC so he can be with his son Sebastian, who was born on Tuesday hours before Brewer played against the Lakers.
He is expected to join the team in New Orleans for Friday's game against the Pelicans in a late 8:30 p.m. ESPN start.
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