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.
From Rachel Blount, making an appearance today as the Wolves reporter:
Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin was in good spirits Friday, when he spoke to the media for the first time since he had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right wrist. Fresh from a medical checkup that showed the wrist is healing well, Martin said his recovery from the Nov. 19 injury will be “a slow process,’’ but he was glad to be back among teammates and friends during a shootaround at Life Time Fitness.
As the depleted Wolves prepared for Friday night’s game against Houston at Target Center, Martin said he thought he had only sprained his wrist during a 37-point performance in a victory over New York. Instead, he will spend the next six weeks monitoring the mending of a broken bone. Martin, Ricky Rubio (sprained ankle), Nikola Pekovic (sprained wrist) and Ronny Turiaf (sore hip) remain on the shelf; Mo Williams (back spasms) is listed as questionable for Friday’s game, and Shabazz Muhammad (sore left ankle) was upgraded Friday morning to probable.
The bone Martin broke is the same one he broke in his left hand in 2009. He anticipates a more challenging recovery this time around, he said, because the injury is to his shooting hand.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays along, since it is my shooting hand,’’ Martin said. “I do remember (with) my left, there was a lot of soreness. But I don’t have a left hand anyway, so I didn’t really need that. But with the right, it’s going to be a little tougher rehab. I’ll have to put in a lot more time with this one.’’
As he recovers, Martin plans to spend plenty of time around the team, and he is providing advice to young players trying to fill the void left by the rash of injuries. He said he spoke with rookie Andrew Wiggins on Friday morning and urged him to be aggressive, saying he would rather see him go three-for-20 than four-for-eight. While Martin said it’s impossible to predict how the increased minutes and responsibility will affect the progress of the younger Wolves, he told them to keep forging ahead despite the hardships.
“I think I can give them a little leadership,’’ Martin said. “But at the end of the day, it’s going to be them. I’m not going to be out there with them. I talked to Andrew this morning, and a couple other guys. If they think this is the toughest thing that’s going to happen to them in their careers, then they’re going to have a pretty good career. This won’t be the lowest point for them through their career. But they can always learn from lessons like this.’’
Martin expects the stitches to be removed from his wrist next week. Until then, he said, his physical activity is limited to walking.
The Rockets are banged up, too. Dwight Howard has missed seven games with a strained right knee and is doubtful; Pat Beverley (strained left hamstring), Isaiah Canaan (left ankle sprain) and Terrence Jones (left leg nerve inflammation) won’t play.
Well, that was ugly, wasn’t it?
Greetings from Target Center for a final time tonight, following an 85-77 loss to the previously winless 76ers in a game Philadelphia ended on a 12-2 run.
The Wolves set or matched season lows with first quarter points, first half points, total points and shooting percentage. What makes it worse is that Philadelphia played nearly as badly. But, at least, they played hard. Harder than the Wolves, anyway.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--So who came with the right attitude to play? Mo Williams, for one. He didn’t play well, but that’s because he had a very sore back. But, according to coach Flip Saunders, he insisted on playing because he didn’t want the Wolves to lose to Philadelphia. After that? Gorgui Dieng, perhaps, who had a 15-point, 16-rebound game. After that, I just don’t know.
--After the game Saunders pledged to sit players who didn’t play hard, or players who continued to make the same mistakes over and over again. It won’t be easy, given the team’s injury situation. But Saunders sounded like a coach who’d just about had it after this loss. Tonight Anthony Bennett was benched after playing just 3½ minutes. So it has already began.
--Check out these shooting numbers for the Wolves starters: Wiggins 4-for-12, Young 6-for-16, Corey Brewer 3-for-11, Williams 5-for-14. Only Dieng (6-for-12) reached 50 percent.
--Four of the five Wolves starters had four or more turnovers.
--The Wolves had more turnovers (19) than assists (17).
That’s about it for now. From the sounds of it, Saunders promised a rather intense practice Thursday. I’ll get back to you after it’s over with an update. Have a good rest of your evening.
I’m guessing this won’t be the last time I will write about Wolves rookie Andrew Wiggins being honored.
Wiggins was named as the NBA’s Western Conference rookie of the month for November.
Wiggins becomes the sixth player to win the award. The others: Gorgui Dieng (March 2014), Ricky Rubio (January 2012), Kevin Love (March 2009), Randy Foye (December 2006) and Stephon Marbury (January 1997).
Wiggins averaged 11.6 points (second among league rookies behind Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker), 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 15 games, all starts. Among Western Conference rookies Wiggins was first in scoring, steals and minutes played, second in blocks and third in rebounding.
He led all rookies in three-point shooting (44.0 percent).
“I think he’s had a solid month,” Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. Still, like any coach, Saunders will say it hasn’t been perfect. Saunders said he continues to encourage Wiggins not to waste minutes on the floor, to play hard all the time. “I want him to run harder,” Saunders said. “I know that’s something he can do.’’
That said, Saunders praised Wiggins on-ball defense. A skill that, in many ways, is the hardest for a young player to learn at this level.
Wolves rookie Andrew Wiggins is the cover feature on this years's best-of edition of Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine. The edition hit the stands last week.
Meanwhile, the Wolves return home to play the winless 76ers hoping to NOT be the team that ends Philly's streak. I will be covering that game, so I'll get back to you guys after Wednesday morning's morning shoot.
Here's a link to the article:
Have a good day.
Sorry for the delayed blog, running late on Pacific time out here on the second part of back-to-back games...
The Wolves went with the same starting lineup tonight against the Clippers in their second game in LA in three days after a quick trip to Portland and back.
That means Andrew Wiggins again was in the starting lineup. He said he was feeling much better -- "thank you" -- tonight than Sunday in Portland, where he received IVs before the game and played just 18 minutes because he was ill.
The Clippers are back for the first time from a seven-game trip in which they went 6-1.
The Wolves are headed home tomorrow morning from this three-game trip with a dangerous meeting Wednesday at Target Center against Philadelphia, which will be trying to avoid tying a NBA record for most consecutive losses to start a season. They are 0-17 now after losing to San Antonio tonight.
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