For the first time in nine days the Wolves will return to game action when they host the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center tonight at 7 p.m.
One big question at today’s morning shoot was how the team would respond out of the All Star break after having been away for so long.
Well, if coach Tom Thibodeau has anything to say about it, it will go fine. It will come as no surprise that the ultra-prepared Thibodeau gave the players a plan on how to stay prepared before they scattered for the break.
“Before the break we laid out what we wanted them to do when they were away,’’ Thibodeau said. “Just in terms of the conditioning. I like the way the break is now, it gives you a little more time. The first day back (Wednesday) was more activation, just to get the bodies going again. And then we had a really good practice Thursday, and shootaround today. Again, the big thing is to make sure you have a routine established in terms of how you prepare to play.’’
And Thibodeau gave it a good bit of thought.
“It’s part of being a pro,’’ he said. “You want to have a strategy for everything. You have the stuff you want to do in the fall, the stuff in the off-season. You have stuff you do over the All Star break. Because you know when those times are coming. How you prepare and plan for them, that’s part of the season. It’s important. You don’t want someone to come back deconditioned. You want them to get their rest, but to manage it well.’’
--One player who really didn’t want the break was Andrew Wiggins, who was on fire before the break. He became the second player in franchise history (Kevin Love was the other one) to post consecutive 40-point games in the two games leading up to the break. Wiggins was 16-for-29 for 41 points in a loss to Cleveland, then he had 40 points on 15-for-26 shooting in a victory at Denver right before the break.
“I didn’t want the break,’’ he said. “I was in a rhythm and I was feeling good. But it’s good to get your legs back, and relax.’’
--Brandon Rush didn’t get back to Minneapolis until Thursday. Rush, a Kansas City native, had his No. 25 Kansas jersey retired by the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse at halftime of Wednesday’s KU-TCU game. For Rush, who hasn’t been back to the campus in Lawrence much since leaving there with a national championship under his belt, said it was a great experience.
“I was a little nervous at first, going up and speaking in front of everybody,’’ he said. “But it turned out to be good. Going back, it was amazing. People showed me a lot of love. I still have a lot of fans down there, and they still follow me to this day.’’
--Nerlens Noel, acquired by the Mavericks from Philadelphia at the trade deadline, won’t play tonight. He will make his Mavs debut tomorrow.