MINNEAPOLIS – Andrei Kirilenko will sit with a sore hamstring during Saturday’s Timberwolves home preseason opener against the Bulls.
Luke Ridnour, who has not yet played this preseason due to a stiff back, is set to make his preseason debut. No word yet on his minutes. Malcolm Lee, who has a groin injury, will not play Saturday, though coach Rick Adelman said that he hopes the second-year point guard can return to practice Monday.
Adelman’s impressions: With two preseason games in the books, Adelman said he hasn’t really been surprised by what he’s seen from his team. Obviously, a lot is still up in the air, but the fact that the shocks have been kept to a minimum should only be a good thing.
Adelman said he was pleased about Dante Cunningham’s defensive play Friday in Indianapolis. The forward finished the night with six blocks.
“He’s very active defensively,” Adelman said. “His activity is what really makes him effective, and he was very good last night.”
Derrick Williams saw significant playing time against the Pacers on Friday, finishing with 25 points in 38 minutes. It’s unlikely he’ll see as much time on Saturday, Adelman said, as the coach will try to rotate other players into his spot. However, with Kirilenko out, Williams will likely still see his fair share of time on the court.
Ricky spotting: After his injury last March, Ricky Rubio was rarely seen around the Timberwolves locker room. On Saturday, though, he was dressed in basketball attire and present in the locker room despite the fact that he won’t play in a game for months. That’s positive for the Timberwolves, though; having Rubio around can only be a good thing.
Bulls sitting: Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said that Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton will both sit on Saturday. Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli will start in their places.
The refs’ take: Before this first home preseason game, the referees met with the media about their points of emphasis for 2012-13. The session was little more than a league-issued video and a quick Q&A, but referee Tony Brothers did comment briefly on flopping, which the video did not address.
Brothers said that the new flopping rules won’t really affect how referees conduct themselves during game because the reviews will come afterwards. Brothers did say that he believes the initiative was necessary and was put into place as a backup system for refs, who could be fooled by the flopping in the moment.