News » Minnesota Timberwolves' Kurt Rambis, Rockets' Trevor Ariza reconnect

Minnesota Timberwolves' Kurt Rambis, Rockets' Trevor Ariza reconnect

Minnesota Timberwolves' Kurt Rambis, Rockets' Trevor Ariza reconnect Trevor Ariza Ariza was 'joy,' Rambis recallsStar emerges upon joining RocketsBy Ray Richardson

After Houston's Trevor Ariza completed his pregame warm-ups Wednesday night at Target Center, he asked a Timberwolves official to escort him to the Wolves' locker room. Ariza wanted to say hello to somebody.

"He was such a joy to work with," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said of his three-year relationship with Ariza when they were with the Los Angeles Lakers. "He's a unique individual and terrific human being."

Ariza, who signed with Houston as a free agent after last season, chatted with Rambis for several minutes in the Wolves' coaches' office. Rambis worked closely with Ariza while he was an assistant with the Lakers.

Ariza, in his fifth NBA season, has had little trouble easing away from Kobe Bryant's shadow. The 6-foot-8 guard-forward leads the Rockets in scoring with 18.5 points per game. He appeared in all 82 games with the Lakers last season but averaged only 8.9 points.

Rambis said he's not surprised Ariza has emerged as a scorer for the Rockets.

"With us (Lakers) last year, he was only scratching the surface," Rambis said. "He's improved his shooting and now he can put the ball on the floor. With his speed and quickness and the way he can cover so much ground, there's a lot to work with."

Wolves piling up steals: The Wolves entered Wednesday's game ranked fourth in the NBA in steals with 8.72 per game. Corey Brewer ranked third in the league with 2.27.

Though Rambis said the Wolves' defense has improved, he had a mixed opinion on one of the Wolves' few positive statistics.

"If the steals are coming out of a byproduct of our defense, I'm happy with that," Rambis said. "I've never been too happy with guys who gamble. If they miss, it puts their teammates in jeopardy when they're out of position."

"Rambis Night" next week: To commemorate the glasses Rambis wore during his playing career, the Wolves will give a replica pair to the first 5,000 fans attending the Wolves' Nov. 27 home game against Phoenix.

Starting time for the game has been pushed back to 8:30 p.m. because of the national telecast on ESPN.

Wilkins' Thanksgiving baskets: Wolves guard-forward Damien Wilkins has partnered with the Emergency Foodshelf Network to donate and distribute Thanksgiving baskets today at EFN's headquarters in New Hope.

Wilkins will distribute the "Baskets of Hope" to 150 to 200 families from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The Wolves are offering a pair of free tickets to people who make a $30 donation to purchase a "Basket Of Hope." Donations can be made at .

Briefly: Rockets all-star Tracy McGrady warmed up before Wednesday's game but did not play. McGrady is still recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Rockets coach Rick Adelman said he had no timetable on McGrady's return.

The Wolves' inactive players were guard Jason Hart and forwards Kevin Love and Mark Blount.

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Added: November 19, 2009


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