Craig Smith traded in his flak jacket for a lighter tank top Sunday night and delivered his best game since returning from a broken rib.
It wasn’t enough to lift the Timberwolves to victory, as the Los Angeles Lakers pulled out a hard-fought 111-108 win at Target Center, but Smith said he felt as good as he looked.
“It’s feeling better,” he said after his 19-point effort. “During the last week, it’s been on and off … but tonight I felt really good.”
It was close to a record night for Smith, who hit his first eight shots before having a layup roll out with 10:04 to play and finished 9 of 10.
With all physicals taken and Thursday’s trade with Sacramento finalized, forward Shelden Williams and point guard Bobby Brown are eligible to play for the Wolves, but coach Kevin McHale decided to hold them out until they have a chance to practice.
“Once they weren’t able to practice (Saturday), it pretty much was let them watch one more game,” McHale said. “They’ll hopefully have a good practice tomorrow and shoot around Tuesday in Toronto and then can hopefully get a few things where they at least feel comfortable enough.”
McHale said he decided to make Brown active for Sunday’s game “just to sit by the coaches and kind of get a feel.”
In fact, as will be discussed in detail, the 2008 draft class is perhaps the most astonishing first-year class in the last three decades…
Timberwolves fans would be in a fury over the lost opportunity for Mayo if Kevin Love had not already developed into one of the top rebounders per minute in the NBA, and a capable scorer as well.
The Timberwolves brought back Minnesota’s own Randy Breuer all the way from his Eden Prairie home to commemorate on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers the franchise’s 20th anniversary season.
The confluence summoned what would be one of the team’s most unforgettable moments if it hadn’t been lost in the mists of time: that December night during the Wolves’ second season when coach Bill Musselman assigned the 7-3 center to defend Lakers 6-9 superstar point guard Magic Johnson.
The Wolves lost by 10, but Musselman’s unorthodox strategy first bemused Johnson, then left him with a 6-for-22 shooting performance on a night when Breuer played the entire game until he fouled out with eight seconds left.