In case you haven’t heard, the Minnesota Timberwolves are off to the City of Brotherly Love to face old friend Jimmy Butler and the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s another test for Ryan Saunders, who in his first three games as head coach beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Prince Night in Minneapolis and then beat Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans the next day.
At the very least, Saunders seems like he’s up for the challenge.
“That’s a daily thing in terms of not getting caught up in other things, other storylines, which we talked a lot about as a team last week,” he said, “We just wanted to focus on who we have in front of us next, and just who’s in our locker room.”
It will be the first time that Taj Gibson will face Butler, who was his teammate in Chicago and Minnesota.
“Knowing him, he’s going to come out aggressive,” acknowledged Gibson. “That’s how he plays. But I think we’ll be ready for the test, too, understanding how we’ve been playing the past couple games and eager to understand that we’re close, in the playoff hunt and we’re going to keep playing hard.”
Andrew Wiggins tried to downplay Butler’s disruptive final months in Minnesota, and said he would talk to him if he sees him pregame.
“I feel like it wasn’t as crazy as everybody made it out to seem,” he said. “I feel like from the media point of view, it kind of blew everything up more than it was, but to me when he was here, at practice, it was a good practice. It was a competitive, intense practice. That was all.”