After a busy day(s) of traveling from Los Angeles to Anchorage in the middle of the night, the Minnesota Timberwolves arrived in Shenzhen Monday morning in anticipation for two preseason games against the Golden State Warriors this week.
After landing, the team checked into the hotel and then . . . practiced.
“The guys were good, so it was good to just get over here and get a little work in,” Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday. “Try to stay on schedule.”
Trying to stay on schedule is tough when you’re 13 hours ahead of home. For example, Monday Night Football will be played in Shenzhen on Tuesday at 8:25 a.m.
While the Wolves are here for business, they are aware of what a great opportunity this trip is to grow the game of basketball, but also to thank fans in China who have been so supportive of the NBA through the years.
“I mean, it’s a huge honor for the NBA to pick us to go up against the defending champions in China,” Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns said. “ . . . I have a huge admiration for fans in China. I think they’re some of the greatest basketball fans in the world. I think they’re passionate and love the game, almost second to none.”
Minnesota only plays three preseason games this year, something that was impacted by this trip. But the Wolves already have the first one under their belt after beating the Lakers Saturday night in Anaheim. There was plenty to improve upon, but for a team that is so new together, the Wolves had an impressive start.
“Good and bad. We shared the ball and defended well,” Wing Jimmy Butler said, who scored with 10 points in just 12 minutes. “I think we guarded to the best of our abilities. We rebounded the basketball and there are things we can get better. Defensive positioning, balancing the floor . . . We won the game. So you gotta take that when you can.”
The Wolves will be back at practice tomorrow morning. Minnesota and Golden State face off 1 a.m. CT Thursday. The game will air on NBA TV.