MEMPHIS Rick Adelman cut it close for Sunday's game in Memphis after a delayed flight pushed his arrival into Memphis to just minutes before game time.
Adelman did not fly with the team Saturday, and his flight out of Minneapolis was delayed due to Sunday's snowstorm. Terry Porter, who coached in Adelman's place for much of January while he tended to his ill wife, handled the coach's pregame duties.
Porter said that he'd never had a situation like this one, with someone running as late as Adelman was. He did say that there were several times back when teams flew commercially that he cut it close, sometimes going straight from the airport to the game.
"He'll get here," Porter said pregame, laughing. "That's the important thing, that he gets here."
Barea's foot: J.J. Barea suffered a left mid-foot sprain in the second quarter of Friday's loss, but he returned to the court for the second half and played. On Sunday, though, Barea was uncertain whether he'd play before he warmed up, and after working out, he decided to give it a go and play on the foot.
With Andrei Kirilenko out with a right quad strain, the Timberwolves have been starting Mickael Gelabale at small forward, but on Friday, Gelabale did not play in the second half. The team relied heavily on a three-guard lineup, and Porter said pregame that if Barea were to miss the game, to replicate that plan would be tough. It's not perfect in every situation, of course, but the three-guard option has worked at times this season for the Timberwolves, and when they're this shorthanded, it can be a valuable change to throw out there.
"It's a double-edged sword," Porter said. "We need it sometimes offensively, but defensively we get hurt when it comes to rebounding."
"We have opportunities to do it. Coach is comfortable with it. He likes the lineup because it gives us some versatility offensively, but also thinks about what it does do defensively to us sometimes. It puts us behind the eight ball."
Dante's return to Memphis: Dante Cunningham played the 2011-12 season in Memphis, and Sunday marked the Timberwolves' first game of the season against the Grizzlies. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said that he hasn't followed the Timberwolves too closely this season, but he had nice things to say about what Cunningham has done.
"When Zach (Randolph) came back at the end of the year, Dante was the odd man out," Hollins said. "We made the trade . . . and he's done well since he's been in Minnesota, just the numbers perspective."
On the season, Cunningham is averaging 8.2 points per game, but in two contests last week against New Orleans and Portland, he scored 18 and then 23 points, which were both season highs at the time.
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