MINNEAPOLIS — When the Timberwolves tip off against Dallas at 6 p.m. Sunday, it will have been just 21 hours since the beginning of their most recent game.
The schedule this weekend is what Rick Adelman referred to as “the perfect storm.” Minnesota played in Denver — in the thin air, to boot — at 7 p.m. MT last night, just hours before daylight savings time kicked in. Then it took about an hour and a half to de-ice their plane before they took off for Minneapolis, and with an hour each lost to the time zone and the time change, the team didn’t land until about 3:30 a.m. Adelman said that he didn’t arrive at his home until about 4:30 a.m., with the silver lining being that the sun wasn’t yet up.
It’ll be a tired and shorthanded team that takes the court Sunday, but what else is new?
“I didn’t know it was daylight savings time,” Adelman said.” I certainly didn’t like the idea of coming to Denver, losing an hour, coming home and playing an early game. I don’t think that you should put yourself in that position.”
Injury updates: Both Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic will be re-assessed on Monday after missing time to injuries. Kirilenko hasn’t played since Feb. 26 in Phoenix after suffering a calf strain, Pekovic not since an abdominal strain Feb. 28 in Los Angeles. Each said Sunday that he realistically hopes to play this week.
Pekovic said that he’s never had an injury like this one before and that he’s stopped feeling any pain from the strain.
“I would like to play today,” Pekovic said.
“I never got something like this before. It feels like . . . it’s an injury where you just need to take some time.”
Kirilenko, too, said that the pain is gone in his calf and that at this point it’s a matter of getting some explosion back into his jump. The team likely will not practice Monday, but Kirilenko said he’d be working out regardless, and though he said he’d be a game-time decision on Tuesday, he then backtracked, admitting that playing then would be unlikely.
“It’s very close,” Kirilenko said. “As I said, like, I start running a little bit. The problem is I need to get that explosion back. I don’t feel any soreness. I don’t feel any pain. The thing is to contract and explode when you go for a layup. . . . I’m trying to get back explosion. As soon as I feel that I can lay it up good, then I’ll be back.”
Also of note in terms of injuries, Dallas’s Shawn Marion will not play against the Timberwolves. He has a bruised left calf.
Big game for Gelabale: Mickael Gelabale scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting in Denver, looking more accurate and aggressive than he yet has in a Timberwolves uniform. In fact, Gelabale hadn’t scored in double-digits before Saturday since Feb. 11, despite shouldering more minutes and responsibility with Kirilenko out injured.
Before Saturday’s game, Adelman and his staff told Gelabale that he needed to work on being more aggressive and making more shots. Adelman stressed that Gelabale seemed to be taking time to acclimate himself to the team, when really there’s no time to do so.
“(He was) just trying to fit in, I think, just waiting for his shot to come to him,” Adelman said. “I think the way we are now, guys have to be aggressive.”
“We don’t have time for fitting in. He can make shots, and he’s a pretty good offensive player, so we need to just have him be a little more aggressive.”
Gelabale will get the start again Sunday, and likely on Tuesday, too, what with Kirilenko’s skepticism about playing so soon. Consequently, the French forward will get a few more chance to prove he’s taken his coach’s advice to heart.