Before Saturday night’s game with San Antonio at Target Center began, Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders learned that guard Mo Williams, who had missed Friday’s game at Milwaukee because of a sprained ankle, would be available to play.
That might mean that Robbie Hummel’s résumé-building is put on hold.
Saunders likes to call Hummel “Always Ready Robbie” for his ability to play any position in the lineup. A natural forward, Hummel has played shooting guard as well as center as injuries have hurt the Wolves. Friday, he added point guard, acting as Zach LaVine’s replacement with Williams out.
“I take a lot of pride in that,” said the 6-9 Hummel, who last played the point in high school in Valparaiso, Ind. “To be able to come in and play anywhere, especially with the injuries being such a common occurrence in NBA.”
That doesn’t make it easy. There were times when Hummel had to guard a big man on defense, then run the offense on the other end of the court. He played 14½ minutes, scoring six points with two rebounds and an assist. He had no turnovers.
“He was effective,” Saunders said. “And guys played well with him. I thought we were better defensively, as much as anything else.”
The Wolves have to hope Williams stays healthy until Ricky Rubio returns from his sprained ankle. Saunders said the Wolves would not cut anybody to make room for another guard on the roster.
Like his teammates, Hummel has endured the team’s current losing streak, but he, for one, doesn’t believe his team has given in to the thought of losing night after night.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “We’ve been playing better of late. I don’t think in any way we’ve given in or are not playing hard. I think we’ve given pretty good effort. … It’s tough. Nobody in here wants to be losing like that. We’re missing some key people. You can’t make excuses in this league. Other teams aren’t laying down because we have three guys hurt. A lot of teams have three guys hurt. So we’ve just got to keep moving along.”
Making an impression
Newly signed Miroslav Raduljica played 8½ minutes in his Wolves debut Friday, delivering four points, two rebounds and two turnovers against the Bucks, the team he played for last season. Saunders drew few conclusions about the 7-foot Serbian’s conditioning.
“A little bit,” Saunders said when asked if he could determine much from Radujljica’s play. “We’re not asking him to come in and play 20 minutes right now. We’re asking him to give us a little bit of help five minutes at a time.”
For the record books
Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points against the Bucks on Friday, his sixth consecutive 20-point game. That is the longest such streak for a rookie in Wolves’ history, one more than the five-game streaks Christian Laettner (March 1993) and current assistant coach Sam Mitchell (November 1989) once had.
Mitchell didn’t look particularly distraught Friday night when his club record had been surpassed.
“I probably shouldn’t have had it anyway,” he said.
• The Wolves had planned on sending rookie Glenn Robinson III to Fort Wayne of the NBA Development League either Sunday or Monday. But those plans might be put on hold, depending on how quickly Shabazz Muhammad recovers from the abdominal strain that kept him out of Saturday’s game.
• As of Saturday there were still 1,200 tickets available for the Wolves’ game with Cleveland and Kevin Love on Jan. 31. Among those tickets available are several in the lower bowl.
• A decision will be made Sunday or Monday whether guard Kevin Martin — recovering from surgery to repair his fractured right wrist — will be cleared for full participation in practice.
Staff writer Jerry Zgoda contributed to this report.