Wolves in London readying for preseason game against Lakers and more
From the Associated Press:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have begun their European tour.
The team arrived in London and practiced there on Saturday. Head coach Kurt Rambis told Minnesota reporters on a conference call from across the pond that the players went through a spirited workout despite the jet lag.
Rambis said rookie forward Wes Johnson's injured hamstring is getting better and that he expects him to play in Monday's exhibition game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Unlike the Lakers, who flew a 777 charter jet, the Timberwolves took a much smaller private plane and stopped twice for refueling after leaving Minneapolis — once in Portland, Maine, and again in Iceland.
"It turned into a long day from the time we left Minnesota to the time we got to the hotel," Timberwolves Coach Kurt Rambis said.
The team actually got out of the plane and had a brief practice in Maine, but there weren’t many players or team personnel awake when the charter landed a few hours later in Iceland.
"I looked outside," Rambis said. "There wasn’t a whole lot outside."
#Timberwolves already toured London, practiced and now doing an NBA Cares youth clinic in London town, where it's late afternoon Saturday
The enigmatic Milicic and Pekovic are both competing for playing time at centre for the new-look Timberwolves, but have formed an instant bond because of their similar backgrounds.
"It's good to have a guy from back home," Milicic said Saturday ahead of a practice to prepare for the pre-season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers at London's O2 Arena on Monday. "It makes it much better."
They're not exactly compatriots — the seven-foot Milicic is from Serbia and the six-foot-11 Pekovic hails from Balkan neighbour Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006. But that's enough to ease the transition for both as they adjust to new surroundings.
"They'd never met before, prior to coming on this team," Rambis said. "And they are forming a nice little bond, so it's good they have that relationship."
From Dave McMenamin/ESPN:
Webster, who wears Bryant's signature sneaker as well as Bryant's former No. 8 on his uniform, could not hide his joy after the game, having beaten his idol.
Now with the Timberwolves after a draft-day trade, Webster made sure to get some face time with the Mamba when the practice floor exchanged hands between Los Angeles and Minnesota on Saturday.
"We talked about the triangle offense," Webster said. "I was asking him about different opportunities to score within the offense when you actually look to score in the paint. He was just telling me it's all about reads. It takes time to understand. So, when you go through practice, you see yourself in different scenarios where you can actually see yourself scoring, that's how you understand it. I never really thought about it like that, most people take practice for granted, but that's where you actually learn the triangle offense."
Webster was effusive in his praise of Bryant for taking the time.
Jefferson asked by PA announcer if crowd for free scrimmage is more than he had for any Timberwolves game last season. #UtahJazz