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 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.
The Wolves reconvened today at Target Center after six days away for All-Star break and practiced for the first time in a week, but starting center Nikola Pekovic didn't practice with them.
He's not yet ready for such on-court work yet, even with the extra week's worth of rest.
He hasn't played since a Jan. 27 game at Chicago. He is not expected to play Wednesday night against Indiana at Target Center.
That'd be his 10th consecutive game missed.
He was not in a protected boot while walking around at practice Tuesday. He was seen wearing one last week just before the Wolves went on their break.
"I'm not surprised," Wolves coach RIck Adelman said when asked about Pekovic not practicing Tuesday. "They're hoping to get him more activity over the next few days and see what happens. LIke I said before, he's got to get on court and practicing. It's not only the injury, it's the practicing. It's something we really have to look at."
THe Wolves probably will practice both Thursday and Friday before flying to Utah to begin on a Saturday a five-game Western trip.
"He's getting better, I think he'll be back soon," teammate J.J. Barea said. "I think he's making sure when he's back he'll be ready to play. Yeah, we miss him. You know we miss him."
Guard Kevin Martin is still scheduled to revisit his doctor on Friday to see he gets clearance to play with that healing fractured thumb on that upcoming road trip.
Meanwhile, Thursday's trade deadline is now just two days away and you know Flip Saunders is working hard to do something, whether it's pursuing Denver exiled point guard Andre Miller or that Yahoo!Sports reported deal on Monday that said the Wolves have discussed a Barea-Chase Budinger for Tayshaun Prince-Tony Allen deal with Memphis.
Budinger declined to talk with reporters Tuesday, walking past them and saying, "I'm not talking about any rumors."
Despite all the building national speculation, here's one thing you can bet on: The Wolves aren't trading Kevin Love.
At least not yet, not by Thursday.
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.
The Wolves have been hit by the injury bug again. And again.
In no particular order:
--Kevin Love, who has worked his way through so many bumps and bruises the past couple weeks, will not play tonight because of a left quad contusion.
--Neither will shooting guard Kevin Martin. Martin hurt his left (non-shooting) thumb late in Friday’s loss in New Orleans. An X-ray taken Saturday revealed a non-displaced fracture of the distal phalanx the thumb. Non-displaced means the bone broke, but the pieces of the bone are still aligned. And the distal phalanx is the tip of the thumb. The Wolves said Martin will not need surgery, but is out indefinitely, at least until after the All-Star break.
After enjoying relatively good health from their starting unit for much of the season, the injuries are coming in bunches. Center Nikola Pekovic missed his seventh game Saturday with bursitis in his right ankle. He is not expected until after the All-Star break either.
Tonight’s starters: Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger, Ronny Turiaf, Dante Cunningham and Corey Brewer.
Here are some other pre-game tidbits:
--Both teams are tired. The Wolves didn’t tip off Friday in New Orleans until 8:30, which meant a long flight home after their fourth-quarter collapse. The team didn’t get to town until about 3:30. The Blazers, meanwhile, lost in overtime at Indiana Friday before flying here.
--Top Blazers reserve Mo Williams will not play tonight. He is missing his second straight game tending to an ill member of his family.
That’s about it for now. Have a good night.
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