The NBA today announced that Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Kevin McHale has been named Western Conference Coach of the Month for January after guiding the Wolves to a 10-4 mark. The honor is the first of McHale’s coaching career and the first for the Timberwolves since the final month of the 2003-04 season.
Minnesota’s 10 wins during the month were the most since posting a 10-5 mark during March 2005, which coincides with McHale’s previous stint as head coach. The .714 winning percentage was also the team’s highest since posting a 6-0 mark in April 2004. Only the San Antonio Spurs (.800) and Los Angeles Lakers (.750) posted higher winning percentages among Western Conference teams during January.
for the thread for tonight’s game at Indiana
With a three-game losing streak heading into tonight’s game against the Indiana Pacers, they say it’s important they nip it in the bud and get back to their 10-2 form in the five-game lead-in to the all-star break.
“We want to go into the second half with some momentum and feeling good about ourselves,” guard Randy Foye said Monday. “We felt good all last month, but this is a new month. We want to go into the all-star break feeling great about ourselves.”
The Wolves suffered through losing streaks of eight and 13 games earlier this season, but Foye said the team is beyond that now.
After coming up short Sunday against Danny Ainge’s Celtics, Wolves coach Kevin McHale will be trying to get the better Tuesday night of another old Boston buddy, Larry Bird, the Indiana Pacers’ president of basketball operations.
Asked after practice today if the two had gotten together, McHale said not yet.
“We’ll see what shakes out,” he said. “I tell you what, time on the road right now, I’m sleepy.”
“When I was really young, Bill Fitch was my coach and at that point, I was very anti-coaching,” McHale said, referring to his first NBA coach. “Bill yelled at me, yelled at us all the time. I never really could see myself doing that.”
After the Pacers’ practice on Monday, Bird laughed at the memories.
“I never thought he’d coach because he was a pain in the butt to some of the coaches we had,” Bird said. “It wasn’t that he fought with him. Coach would be on him hard, and Kevin would do the opposite just to tick him off.”
Gordon, who edged out Minnesota’s Kevin Love for Western Conference Rookie of the Month, ranked first among rookies in scoring for the month (21.9 ppg), fourth in assists (4.1 apg) and first in minutes (41.1 mpg).
All that said, there was plenty of ineptitude and discouragement along the way. In both games, you never got the sense that LA or Boston were unduly concerned about the outcome. The whole thing took on the flavor of a larger kid with a longer reach holding the forehead of a smaller kid at arm’s length while the latter swung, kicked and screamed at the air.
To the surprise of exactly nobody, playing two of the three best teams in the NBA has brought our Timberwolves back to Earth. What’s more, it appears that much of the good fortune that enabled the team’s improbable January success–namely, mind-alteringly hot shooting by Randy Foye and Rodney Carney (the two are now a combined 22-72 in the last three losses)–has begun to fade, as we knew it would.
As underrated as they come, Gomes is averaging 13.5 points per game in 2009 for the resurgent Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation this recently launched the fourth annual “Who Inspires You?” creative contest in celebration of inspirational black leaders in American history. Presented by KSTC Channel 45, the contest invites all middle school and high school students from across the state to submit a creative work illustrating how their choice inspires them to be a better leader today.