Previews for tonight's game at Orlando:
From Josh Robbins/Orlando Sentinel:
The Timberwolves spent part of their Thursday at Amway Arena practicing for Friday night’s rematch against the Magic.
"To me, when Dwight Howard’s on the floor, it’s a plus for his team," Jefferson said after the workout ended. "I don’t think you can stop Dwight Howard. I think you can try to maintain him, try to keep him from just taking over the ballgame. We did a good job of maintaining him, but he’s such a great player he made his teammates around him better, and that’s why other guys got open shots and nailed them."
From Kelly Dwyer/Ball Don't Lie:
The bottom line is that Jefferson and Darko had just nine combined rebounds in 67 minutes of total play, as the Timberwolves were crushed on the glass by 10 caroms last night. And Love had nine rebounds himself in just under 22 minutes of play. Either Kurt Rambis is the most unobservant coach in the history of the game, or there's something personal and/or stupid going on between him and Love. I'm choosing the former.
Because he can't be in on a little secret, some benefit to Love's benching that we don't see. How is that possible? The Wolves have lost 58 times in 72 tries. We're supposed to think this guy's methods work?
From Jerry Zgoda/Star Tribune:
Here are their remaining four road games: Orlando Friday, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio.
The franchise record for fewest victories, btw, is that 15-67 season their third season in existence.
That was when Jimmy Rodgers was coach and the Wolves by finished with the league's worst record -- six fewer victories than 21-61 Orlando -- and still ended up picking Christian Laettner third after Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning went 1-2.
The Wolves now own two of the three longest losing streaks in the league this season.
From Benjamin Polk/City Pages:
But friends, the negativity is starting to wear us out; we want to talk about some moderately happy things. Despite everything, there have been some signs of life, signs that the Wolves' pride and competitiveness haven't completely flickered out...
From Stephen Litel Downtown Journal: Wolves Unfiltered: David Kahn
With Rubio, we have a pretty good sense that he won’t be here next season. At this point, do you have any idea on Pekovic?
"I know that he’d like to come over next year. My sense is that he does. I’ve visited with him in person and he knows the next step now is for me to come over with Kurt in May and we’re going to spend some time watching him together and then we’ll figure out how to proceed."
From Stephen Litel Downtown Journal: Wolves Unfiltered: Chris Wright
What are the "phases" of the campaign for next year?
"We see this campaign being at least four phases. The first phase is through April 1, the next phase is through the lottery, the phase after that is through the draft and the phase after that is into the free agent market. We’re going to take advantage of what we call ‘exploding timelines.’ The next one is lottery. Probably 5:00 that night, we will put up pricing for Phase Two before those ping pong balls happen in New Jersey . What the next phase will be about is to launch a ‘Pay the Pick’ campaign, which we’ve done in the past and that will be in the upper level. Then, we’re going to raise prices back. The people who have already committed to us will be pleased that they got in when they see the prices and say, ‘Yeah, that was the reason I committed early,’ which is really what we want. We want to reward them, but at the same time, there will marginally be a gap between what people paid last year and the new price because we want to see how quickly we can get to symmetry in the lower level."
From David Thorpe/ESPN:
Flynn is a very gifted player, and he is going to be an excellent scorer in this league. But to play in Minnesota's offense, he needs to understand his role as a passer and shot creator for his teammates. I don't think he's a selfish player, but he definitely thinks about scoring first. Among starting point guards, he ranks in the bottom five in assist rate. Want to guess who's No. 1 in that category? Kidd, by a landslide. He gets an assist on almost half of his overall possessions. When you watch him play, you can almost read his eyes and mind as he searches for open teammates.
I think Flynn can improve enormously if he learns to think like this more often.
From Jerry Zgoda/Star Tribune:
Flynn planned to gather with some of his teammates at Damien Wilkins' Orlando home Thursday night to watch Syracuse, his home-state team where he spent two seasons, play (and eventually lose to) Butler.
He was asked to compare his March a year ago with this one. "I don't look at it like that," he said. "My March last year was definitely different, but this is the world I want to be in. I'm happy for all my friends on that team, but I wouldn't trade this for anything."
This is a season when Flynn no longer is the fastest, strongest, best player on the floor at his position, not even close many nights.
From Tania Ganguli/Orlando Sentinel:
And about as much fun as watching the Orange make their tournament run is teasing NBA players whose college teams aren’t quite so successful.
One in particular.
"Jeff Green!" Flynn bellowed with wide grin. "Jeff Green cause he went to Georgetown. He loves his school just like I love Syracuse. It’s always fun to have a little back and forth trash talking with him, especially when you’re winning the games."
And after Georgetown lost to Ohio in the first round of this year’s tournament?
"I got on him — I couldn’t wait to get on him," Flynn said. "I could not wait. It’s all friendly. Nothing personal. It’s always fun to joke with guys in the league about their college team. Yeah texts, Twitter, things like that. You try to give the people on Twitter something to laugh about. Let them laugh about it with you."
From Rod Simons blog at the Timberwolves site:
No one is going to mistake Cardinal's game for an NBA all-star. It wasn't his "game" that necessarily brought him back. He's a stout 6-8 forward who played in 27 games and scored under 2 points a game. No, it was Cardinal's stature, his place in the lockerroom that was needed. He's a 10-year veteran who's contributed nicely on winning teams. Cardinal has been there and knows that this will get better. Doesn't much feel like it right now but he sees it. The great thing about youth is the excitement and tremendous possibilities that comes with their game. When losing puts a damper on those elements, it takes guys like Cardinal to see through it.
From Josh Robbins/Orlando Sentinel: Kurt Rambis showing patience with the Timberwolves
"It's been a tough year, of course, but I think we all knew that going into this season that it was going to be a rocky year," Timberwolves center Al Jefferson said. "I think he did a great job just keeping positive energy around with the team. It's a young team and it's so easy to get sidetracked. It's so easy to start pointing fingers. I think he did a good job of keeping that together."
Jefferson said he doesn't know how, exactly, Rambis has kept things so positive.
But Jefferson acknowledged that Rambis commanded instant respect because he won four NBA titles as a player. The coaching staff also includes two-time NBA champion Bill Laimbeer and former all-star Reggie Theus.
From Dan Patrick's blog at SI.com:
Quote of the Day I
"With the situation that we're in, I don't. I don't feel sorry for them. They have Jay-Z, a possible move to Brooklyn, and a Russian billionaire. Their passion bucket isn't empty" -- Timberwolves' Kevin Love on the Nets
Quote of the Day II
"Yeah, sure. I'm in love. It's my last name." -- Love answering Dan's question on whether he's still in love with his girlfriend.
From Jerry Zgoda's twitter account:
Ricky Rubio goes 1-for-7, has 5 pts, 4 rebs, 0 assts in Barca's 70-63 Euroleague quarterfinal playoff loss to Real Madrid.
From the Orlando Sentinel Knights Notepad blog:
I caught up with Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Reggie Theus today following the team’s practice in Orlando. The Timberwolves play the Magic Friday. Theus, a former New Mexico State head coach and assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville, is a potential candidate for the UCF men’s basketball head coaching job. His name also has been tied to several other college head coaching job openings. Theus chose his words carefully, but he didn’t shoot down the possibility of becoming the next coach of the Knights.
From ESPN Chicago: McHale: Bulls never serious for Garnett
"I talked to the Bulls some about things, but at the end it really came down to I thought the best offer was to get a good, young big man, either Al Jefferson -- who we ended up taking -- or we were talking to the Lakers about Andrew Bynum," McHale said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Both of those guys were involved. It was just the decision that we wanted to go with a big guy and try to get a post-type player and a defender.
From Brian Johnson/Finance & Commerce: Minneapolis seeks upgrades for Target Center
"We think the building is an asset of the state, and that taxpayers around the state benefit from Target Center and use Target Center, and therefore the taxpayers of Minneapolis should not be the only folks who support Target Center," Born said.
But the request has faced an uphill battle at the Legislature.
"I think the dilemma there is, those things become controversial," said Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. "What should be the team’s responsibility?"
Hausman noted that the Minnesota Wild are paying back the state loan that helped pay for construction of their home, the Xcel Energy Center, but the Minnesota Timberwolves are "under no such obligation," which rankles some legislators.