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.
Greetings from Target Center
Here are a couple pre-game notes:
--Center Nikola Pekovic will miss his sixth straight game tonight with ankle bursitis. But Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Pekovic has been doing more on the court, has been responding well to that work and could return to action either Friday against the Lakers at Target Center or Sunday at Brooklyn.
--Both the Hawks – who are currently in eighth place in the East – and the Wolves have lost three straight entering this game.
--The last time Minnesota played Atlanta, Feb. 1, Kevin Love had 43 points and 19 rebounds. “I’d like to see that again,” Adelman joked before the game.
--Atlanta shooting guard Kyle Korver will not play due to back spasms. The Hawks have moved DeMarre Carroll to shooting guard and moved Cartier Martin into the starting lineup.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after the game
Wolves backup point guard J.J. Barea, bothered the last week or so by a sprained foot, will not play tonight in Memphis against the Grizzlies, so little-used Alexey Shved becomes the main option behind Ricky Rubio at point guard.
That's because third point guard A.J. Price remains unavailable after undergoing an appendectomy a couple weeks ago.
Centers Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf remain out as well.
Defensive-minded Tony Allen won't play for the Grizzlies, but starting center Marc Gasol will with a hurting ankle on one leg and a hurting on the other.
The Grizzlies, btw, limited the mighty Indiana Pacers to just 71 points their last time out, in Saturday's 82-71 home victory.
The good news is that backup point guard J.J. Barea's sprained left foot feels good enough for him to play today. The bad? Center Nikola Pekovic will miss his fourth straight game with ankle bursitis.
That means Wolves coach Rick Adelman is going with the same starting five he's gone with since Pek went down: Kevin Love, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Ricky Rubio and rookie center Gorgui Dieng, who is coming off a 22-point, 21-rebound performance in Houston Thursday.
That's about all for pre-game. I'll get back to you after the game.
Both teams will be without their starting centers when the Wolves finish this quick Texas two-step trip tonight in Houston.
Wolves center Nikola Pekovic remains out -- for the third consecutive game -- because of that hurting right ankle that has bothered him since late January.
Rockets star Dwight Howard will miss his second consecutive game because of an ankle as well.
He had part of a cyst removed and fluid drained from his on Wednesday.
Rick Adelman was asked before tonight's game if Pek for DH-12 is a fair swap.
"I don't know about Dwight," he said. "I know Pek hurts us. I'm sure he hurts them, too."
Gorgui Dieng will start again for the Wolves and Omer Asik will start for Howard.
Wolves starting center Nikola Pekovic will miss his second consecutive game -- tonight at Dallas -- because his right ankle remains too sore for him to play.
He is not expected to play tomorrow either in Houston against a Rockets team that will be without All-Star Dwight Howard.
Pekovic hasn't run on that ankle since leaving Friday's game at Charlotte in the third quarter.
Rookie Gorgui Dieng will start in his absence tonight instead for the second straight game after getting his first NBA start on Sunday against Sacramento.
Howard had part of a cyst and fluid drained from his ankle on Wednesday and he told Houston Chronicle beat writer Jonathan Feigen he will not play until Saturday at the earliest.
Howard didn't play in Monday's home victory over Utah. Until then, he had been the only Rocket who played in every game this season.
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