for the forum's thread for tonight's game against the Spurs
From True Hoop:
The Timberwolves' long-term approach
Nikola Pekovic, currently playing for Panathinaikos, is part of the sales pitch -- and yet not one current Timberwolf is. Could it be any clearer that this team is positioning itself for the long term?
That kind of thinking has been evident in the coaching, too. In recent days, the team has had private trainer Idan Ravin in to run some special sessions in addition to regular practices and shootarounds. It is yet another break from the norm.
Ravin is the focus of a whole chapter of Chris Ballard's The Art of a Beautiful Game, in which Carmelo Anthony explains why he calls the trainer Crouton: "Because his name rhymes with crouton, and he's a lot cooler than a regular cracker."
Ravin -- who has a reputation both for challenging, and connecting with, players -- took some questions on the phone on Thursday, and says he hopes to inspire the young Timberwolves.
Hollins insists he's not a "dirty player or anything like that," but he still was given a two-game suspension Wednesday by Stu Jackson, the league's executive vice president of basketball operations, for striking Dallas guard DeShawn Stevenson during Monday night's game at Target Center.
"I understand the suspension," Hollins said after Thursday's practice. "They said my fist was closed when it happened. That's a league rule. I have to learn to control myself better and know what the refs are watching. I know it's a matter of interpretation about what they see."
Hollins is allowed to practice during his suspension, which cost him $53,252 of his $2.183 million salary this season, but he is prohibited from being in the arena for Wolves games. He was at home for Wednesday's loss to Denver and will be again tonight for the Wolves' game against San Antonio at Target Center.
Rambis said he has a "good relationship" with Love, who Rambis said played a season-low number of minutes on Monday because he wasn't playing well (1-for-7 shooting) and didn't match up defensively out on the floor with Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki.
"What player is happy when they come out of the game?" Rambis said. "He wants to play. He wants to play a lot, so he's probably never going to be happy. If he plays 42 minutes, he'll be unhappy that he didn't play six minutes. That's just who he is as an individual. You like players who feel they should be on the court and can help the team win. You don't want players just accepting when they come out."
Love noted after Wednesday's game that his shooting percentage is 42 percent over the past 10 games and attributed it to not knowing when he's going to get the ball in the team's triangle-based offense. "It's OK to be disappointed, it's OK to be unhappy, it's OK to be frustrated," Rambis said. "Those are all natural human emotions. It's how to you deal with them."
From the Timberwolves:
Timberwolves first-round draft pick Ricky Rubio and his Spanish team, Regal F.C. Barcelona, will wrap up the Euroleague Top 16 playoff round by facing Serbian club Partizan Belgrade in a game scheduled to air on NBA TV Saturday (Mar. 13) at 12:00 p.m. Rubio, the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, has appeared in 39 games with a 36-3 Barcelona (ACB/Euroleague). Rubio is averaging 6.4 ppg, 4.8 apg and 1.95 spg in 19.9 mpg and is shooting 38.4% from three-point range and 84.6% from the FT line, with an assist/TO ratio of 2.5-to-1.