BOSTON – One night after he went scoreless for the first time in nearly two years, Timberwolves starting shooting guard Kevin Martin missed Monday’s game at Boston because of a knee injury he’d only describe as painful.
Rookie Robbie Hummel started at small forward and Corey Brewer moved over to Martin’s starting spot to fill an absence caused by a hurting knee that has bothered him since a game at Detroit a week ago.
He said the decision to sit Monday ultimately wasn’t either his or coach Rick Adelman’s.
“That’s a knee decision,” he said. “It doesn’t feel good at all.”
Martin played only 19 minutes in Sunday’s victory at Memphis and missed all three shots he attempted before Adelman sat him down in the second half when it became obvious Martin couldn’t move well enough to play.
Martin sat the rest of the game on the bench with a heating pad on the knee.
He said that he hasn’t had any medical tests done and that he doesn’t have any planned.
“It’s something I’ve got to get right,” he said. “I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. There’s a lot of pain in the knee. It’s time I’ve got to get it right.”
Martin said he didn’t hit the knee or injure it on a specific play.
“Just over time,” he said. “Maybe old-man age.”
Better than it looked?
Wolves reserve forward Dante Cunningham went down hard and writhed on the floor in pain because of an injured left ankle with about four minutes remaining Monday after he had made five of six shots and scored 12 points.
Eventually, he walked off the court slowly and was walking on the ankle carefully in the locker room after the game.
“I didn’t know what was going on. It looked like he broke his ankle,” Adelman said. “I hope it’s not serious.
“I’m sure he’s going to be out,” he said. “Someone else is going to have to step up. We have great experience with that.”
Getting a chance
With the way opponents have paraded to the basket against the Wolves recently, Adelman said he’s been trying to find playing time for rookie center Gorgui Dieng, his team’s most legitimate shot blocker.
That time came Monday, when Adelman played Dieng 13 minutes, his most since he played 14 minutes in his NBA debut in the season’s second game. He scored four points and had three rebounds, four fouls and a steal.
“I thought he was good,” Adelman said. “He tried. He’s a rookie. You can’t guard anybody inside without getting a foul. It’s hard for me to understand all the fouls he got when you saw all the banging that was going on with Kevin [Love] and Pek [Nikola Pekovic]. He was active. He’s going to be active and he can make a difference.”
An Indiana thing
When Boston first-year coach Brad Stevens praised the Wolves on Monday, he mentioned Love, of course, and also the team’s strong bench play and rookie reserve Hummel’s emergence.
Huh? Must be an Indiana thing: Stevens grew up in Indianapolis and coached Butler University, while Hummel was a northern-Indiana prep star who played at Purdue.
“That’s kind of ridiculous, but he’s a good guy,” Hummel said. “I guess it is one of those [Indiana] things. I’m happy he’s doing so well, for sure.”
• Stevens never recruited Hummel when he was at Butler when it became obvious he was headed elsewhere, namely to Purdue.
“But I have so much respect for him,” Stevens said. “I’m obviously really familiar with him and coming back from what he came back from with two [torn] ACLs is a remarkable story.”
• Adelman on Brewer’s 12-rebound game in Memphis: “He’s set the bar now. We expect that out of him every night now.” Brewer had one rebound Monday.