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Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Andray Blatche "questionable" for Minnesota, Trevor Booker ready if necessary

By Michael Lee

Andray Blatche tried to participate in the morning shootaround at Target Center, arriving on the court wearing a protective wrap over his sprained right shoulder. The wrap was similar to the one that Al Thornton has been wearing since straining a tendon in his right shoulder on Saturday in Charlotte.


I was a Timberwolf for 15 seconds. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Blatche said that his injury "was similar to Al Thornton's" and he was taking jumpers during warm-ups, which was an encouraging sign since he was unable to lift his arm without extreme discomfort two nights before against Sacramento.

"We don't know," Saunders said when asked if Blatche would be available. "He made a lot of improvement from yesterday to today. Yesterday was probably no. Today is more questionable. One thing about Dray, he's not afraid to play hurt. If he can play, he'll play because that's what he likes to do."

If Blatche is unable, Trevor Booker will likely get more minutes. Booker scored a career high 11 points with nine rebounds starting in place of Blatche against New Jersey, but he has fallen out of the regular rotation since the Rashard Lewis trade. He has played more than eight minutes once since Lewis made his debut and received two DNP-CDs in the past 10 games. Lewis would start at power forward, but Booker is looking forward to any opportunity that he can get.

"I'll just try to do the things I've been working on," Booker said. "I've been working on my shot. So if I'm open, I'm going to take the shot. Just bring a lot of defense and a lot of energy."

Booker might get utilized either way, since the Wizards will need some help keeping Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love away from the boards. Saunders said that there are times that you know Love will get the rebound the moment the ball is released. He also said Love should get strong consideration for the all-star team, since he is also averaging 21.1 points, a league-leading 15.8 rebounds, and has recorded 25 consecutive double-doubles.

"He's having a phenomenal year," Saunders said. "We always talk about all-stars, it's a situation where we looked at how winning is so important to make an all-star, but how he's playing and the numbers he's putting up. He's all-star caliber."

Booker said Love is a considerable challenge. "He likes to use his body to get rebounds. You have to put a body on him. Sometimes you might have to faceguard or box out. you've got to do whatever you can to keep him off the glass."

Booker actually was drafted by the Timberwolves but said he barely had an opportunity contemplate a future in Minneapolis. "Right after I got drafted, it was 15, 20 seconds, they called me and told me that I've been traded to Washington."

He said he wouldn't have had a problem playing in Minnesota, then he arrived to see the city under snow and with 2-degree weather. "I like the snow," Booker said. "Because we don't get it too much down south. But I don't know if I like this much."

The scene was perfect for Saunders, who played college basketball at Minnesota, led the Timberwolves for nearly 10 seasons and maintains an offseason home in the area. "It wasn't very long. Always good to come back to Minnesota, and see some snow," Saunders said. "Blue skies and snow."

By Michael Lee  | January 13, 2011; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker  
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Next: Open thread: Wizards (10-26) at Timberwolves (9-30)

Comments

first

Posted by: jefferu | January 13, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Good news on two fronts.

1.AB is getting healthy
2.They are looking to get Booker more involved.

Posted by: audacitea | January 13, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it'll be fun to see Booker. He hasn't looked bad when he's been in there, except for that one abortive start. He does bring welcome effort and aggressiveness. If Blatche's injury is the same as Thornton's, a good knock on that shoulder will put him out of the game, so discretion might be the better part of valor. Also be interesting to see Javale against the Wolves big men -- people forget Milicic (if he plays) has gone some ways to resurrecting his career as well. Darko still fouls a lot -- he's collecting 3.4 in 24 minutes. McGee could take advantage of that.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"He's having a phenomenal year," Saunders said. "We always talk about all-stars, it's a situation where we looked at how winning is so important to make an all-star, but how he's playing and the numbers he's putting up. He's all-star caliber."

Who's Flip talking about...NY?

Oh, he's talking about a player on another team.

For a brief moment I thought I was going to give the coach some credit but since he has his fan club (kalo_rama, Samson151, rphilli721 and SDMDTSU) all who are about as "Fair & Balanced" as Fox News on here to do that, I'll point out...

Booker scored a career high 11 points with nine rebounds starting in place of Blatche against New Jersey, but he has fallen out of the regular rotation since the Rashard Lewis trade. He has played more than eight minutes once since Lewis made his debut and received two DNP-CDs in the past 10 games.

I guess Booker is responsible for those DNP's since it's up to the players to get better on his own...Booker must not want to play...another Ernie pick who has no desire to get better?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Darko still fouls a lot -- he's collecting 3.4 in 24 minutes.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Let's put Seraphin on Darko and watch them both foul out in 10 mins?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"For a brief moment I thought I was going to give the coach some credit but since he has his fan club (kalo_rama, Samson151, rphilli721 and SDMDTSU) all who are about as "Fair & Balanced" as Fox News on here to do that, I'll point out...posted by bulletsfan78"

Speaking of unfair and unbalanced...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Rashard stay at 3 and Booker start at 4, but the vet hierarchy decrees Thornton will have to start. Hopefully Booker gets plenty of minutes though

Posted by: divi3 | January 13, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Man just stay out west and die. Geez. I wish I would take as much energy to be as negative as you.

I'm in the fan club because I don't agree with you right?

Okay. I think since to be a good coach you had to have been a successful player...we should hire Isaiah Thomas as the next coach.


Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 13, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand how people say Booker and Seraphin aren't ready when they have not had the opportunity to play without being pulled at the first mistake.

By the way anybody else notice how right before the end of the half the 'coach' will frantically insert cartier and booker for the final 10 seconds and then not play either the rest of the game?

Posted by: spoooooooon | January 13, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

KLove is the type of no-defense Big that Blatche was abusing last year, had a 33/13 game against the Jefferson/Love frontcourt. Could be a "get right" game for AB...but better to sit him than risk his shoulder.

Posted by: divi3 | January 13, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Young Nicholas, noteworthy enough for the NYTimes apparently:

Young was insanely efficient (to score 43 points on 22 shots is a ridiculous accomplishment)

http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/washingtons-young-tests-the-hot-hand-theory/#more-8257

Posted by: divi3 | January 13, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

TNT is airing the OKC/Orl game instead of the Minn/Wash game?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

No I'm asking you to clarify that someone can or cannot be a good teacher based on their success as a player. Answer the damn question and stop trying to re-direct it.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 13, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

of course someone can be a good teacher without being a succesful player.

Answer something for me...

Do you really think there aren't two guys out there that aren't better qualified for the jobs these two guys have?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Do you know that there aren't?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 13, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Answer the damn question and stop trying to re-direct it.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Young Nicholas, noteworthy enough for the NYTimes apparently:

Young was insanely efficient (to score 43 points on 22 shots is a ridiculous accomplishment)

http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/washingtons-young-tests-the-hot-hand-theory/#more-8257

Posted by: divi3 | January 13, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

So a newspaper in a town with a pretty newsworthy basketball team of their own, does a write up on NY's 43 pts on 22 FGAs. Interesting.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 13, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Do you know that there aren't?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 13, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Answer the damn question and stop trying to re-direct it.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

yeah! answer the #$(*@&% question!

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 13, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"So a newspaper in a town with a pretty newsworthy basketball team of their own, does a write up on NY's 43 pts on 22 FGAs. Interesting.Posted by: lilhollywood10"

It'll boost his PER, that's for certain. Funny thing is, the previous Sacramento game (Dec 8, 2010), played on the road, he went 1-8 in 26 minutes for a total of 3 points. Shows you how things can change.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

It'll boost his PER, that's for certain. Funny thing is, the previous Sacramento game (Dec 8, 2010), played on the road, he went 1-8 in 26 minutes for a total of 3 points. Shows you how things can change.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

u want me to bring up the game where Kirk went without an assist? We can do this all night. How bout his hero ball coast to coast action Vs. Miami? Be fareal partner. Erroneous mildly Dickish comment.

I mention that an out of town paper takes the time to do a write up on one of our guys who had a great game, and you gotta come and piss all over it with some ole Dec 8th BS in one of their worst performances this year? You're better than that Samson!

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 13, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Do you really think there aren't two guys out there that aren't better qualified for the jobs these two guys have?Posted by: bulletsfan78"

In practical terms, there's almost always somebody better qualified for every NBA job -- depending on who's judging their qualifications. That's also true for most jobs in politics, government, big business, small business... who doesn't know some 55 year old who's eminently more qualified than the 30 year old who took his tech sector job? But he's also more expensive, maybe harder to manage, more costly to insure, etc. It happens.

The real question is, who cares? A coach should be able to hire his own staff. If one of his coaches is his son, so be it. If one is a legacy hire for the club ownership, so be it. It's assumed that if Saunders leaves, any family members will go peacefully. Young Wes will probably stay, if he wants to.

Do we really need to make mountains out of molehills? Doesn't this team have enough real problems -- like insufficient talent?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"u want me to bring up the game where Kirk went without an assist? We can do this all night. How bout his hero ball coast to coast action Vs. Miami? Be fareal partner. Erroneous mildly Dickish comment.posted by lilhollywood10"

Don't be defensive. I'm just pointing out that things can change -- good performance can follow bad one, against the same opponent. Good thing to remember.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

You know who has been consistent in the two recent Sac-Wiz games? Beno Udrih. Here's the line:

12/8/10 (Kings win by 27): 26 minutes, 23 points, 6-9 FGs, 3-4 Three pointers, 8-10 FTs, 3 rbs, 6 assists, 4 TOs, 3 steals.

1/11/11 (Wiz win by 3): 42 minutes, 26 points, 10-13 FGs, 1-3 Threes, 5-5 FTs, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 TOs, 2 stls, 1 blk.

Methinks we need to learn how to play that guy...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Do you really think there aren't two guys out there that aren't better qualified for the jobs these two guys have?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Do you know that there aren't?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 13, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Answer the damn question and stop trying to re-direct it.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 13, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. I don't know what either coach does and what to what capacity and neither do you.

Probably is someone somewhere that's better...but that's like asking is Pepsi better than Coke.

YOU made a comparison of Ryan Saunders capability to coach and his college statistics.

Statistics are concrete...and measuring that against coaching acumen. Is stupid.

Or I could say his father is one of the winningest coaches in the NBA and he's been around basketball his entire life so he MUST be amazing.

And Wes Unseld Jr. same thing...AND he MUST have been schooled by his hall of fame father...his must be an amazing big man coach...

Right?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 13, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Interesting piece from SI.com on the Bulls since Noah went down:

"...in Noah’s 14-game absence...the Bulls’ offense has struggled while their defense has remained stout...we see Chicago has scored slightly more than 103 points per 100 possessions this season. That’s just about league average...Since Noah was sidelined, Chicago has hit that mark just six times in 14 games despite an incredibly easy schedule, and it’s come in at 102 points per 100 possessions or worse — the equivalent of a bottom-10 offense — in seven of those 14 games. Toss out one huge outlier — a 121-76 destruction of the Sixers last month — and the Bulls’ offensive numbers without Noah look even worse. Their defense, meanwhile, has shot to the top of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions."

"The level of competition obviously matters over such a short sample, and Chicago’s Noah-less defense has clearly benefited from playing some of the league’s worst offensive teams. Eleven of those 14 games have come against the Nets, Cavaliers, Clippers, Sixers, Wizards, Bobcats, Pistons and Bucks — eight of the league’s dozen worst offenses, with five of those teams ranking in the bottom five. So the Bulls’ D is fattening up against some poor competition."

"But only one of those teams (the Bucks) ranks among the league’s top 10 defenses, so the Bulls’ struggles on offense are troubling. And they raise the question: Is Noah more valuable on offense than most people realize?"

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Just off the wire:

"The Knicks have a "contingent" deal in place to trade Anthony Randolph to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a first-round pick in the 2011 draft, according to a report from the New York Post . The deal hasn't gone through yet due to Donnie Walsh being unsure about pursuing a trade for Carmelo Anthony, the only reason the Knicks want that pick. The Knicks have been pursuing the Randolph trade for months in case they can manage to get Denver to relent and open discussions (or if the Nuggets get so mad at the Nets as to open such discussions ). "

Posted by: Samson151 | January 13, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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