WASHINGTON - One day after his mother died, former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders did exactly what the woman who gave him his nickname would have wanted him to do.
He went back to work.
Saunders spent time at mother Kay's bedside in a Cleveland hospice last week after she was taken off life support and then learned when he landed back in Washington for Friday's practice that the woman he called the biggest 90-year-old NBA fan had died.
"You get back to your team and guys you're familiar with and it's a way maybe to escape a little bit, if you can," said Saunders, who coached against the Wolves on Saturday night after missing a game against Golden State on Tuesday. "This is something she'd want me to do. I'll leave tomorrow and take care of things I need to do."
He'll miss Sunday's game against Detroit so he can return to Cleveland for the wake and funeral of a mother who packed his lunch for days spent at the playground courts and had hot meals waiting for him at home at night.
"She did what all mothers seem to do," he said. "She's always been a huge sports fan. She knows everything about everybody. Sometimes it really surprises me the insight she has, her being able at 90 to comprehend everything all those guys are talking about on NBA TV."Wes still woozy
Wolves rookie Wes Johnson wasn't feeling much better Saturday than he was Friday when he missed the loss at Philadelphia with what might have been food poisoning.
He stayed at the hotel during Saturday's game and was scheduled to join the team later for its flight back to Minnesota after this three-game trip that started Wednesday in Detroit.
Wayne Ellington started again in his place, for the second consecutive game.Getting ready?
Starting center Darko Milicic and guard Martell Webster each missed the entire trip but are expected to practice Sunday and play Monday against Dallas at Target Center.20/20 vision
Saunders sounded resigned that Wolves forward Kevin Love would get his 50th consecutive double-double Saturday night (which he did) -- one away from Moses Malone's 51-game streak that's the longest since the ABA/NBA merger.
"Well, now it's not a matter of a double-double, it's whether he's going to have a 20-20," Saunders said of Love, who had his 10th 20-point, 20-rebound game of the season Friday. "I was thinking someone could roll into his knee like [Nikola] Pekovic did and knock him out. It'd be fitting that the only guy who could keep him from getting his double-double is one of his own players. He's playing just unbelievable."
Pekovic fell into Love, hitting him in a sore thigh that had been bruised twice already last week during Friday's game against the Sixers.Etc.
• The Wizards were shorthanded themselves Saturday: They started the all-rookie backcourt of John Wall and Jordan Crawford because starter Nick Young was ill and also started ailing veteran Rashard Lewis instead of Josh Howard (hamstring).
• Saturday's game was a homecoming for Wolves forward Michael Beasley, who grew up in nearby Seat Pleasant, Md.