Muhammad: Lynx Show Chemistry, Unselfish Play

Muhammad: Lynx Show Chemistry, Unselfish Play

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Shabazz Muhammad sat second row at Thursday’s 85-62 Lynx win over Phoenix in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, and from that vantage point he couldn’t help but feel the buzz in arena generated by the home team.

In 11 days, the Timberwolves’ rookie forward will play his first game at Target Center. And if things go according to plan, in six months he might have the chance to help contribute to a playoff atmosphere for his own team under this same roof.

“I’m expecting it,” Muhammad said. “This is great energy. I can’t wait to get out there and get on the floor with my teammates and get some wins.”

Thursday was Muhammad’s second-ever WNBA game—he previously watched the Lynx face the Atlanta Dream—and he was genuinely impressed with what he saw on the court. Minnesota played tenacious defense, holding Phoenix to 24.3 percent shooting in the first half, including 2-of-15 in the second quarter, and on the offensive end they were relentless. Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen were seemingly unstoppable all night, and it showed. The Lynx led by as many as 31 and never looked back after the first quarter.

In the end, Phoenix and its offense that averaged 79.8 points per game this season was held to 22 first-half points.

Muhammad, who has been in town for about a month working out at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center, sometimes sees the Lynx wrapping up their practices when he shows up at the training facility. He’s seen them behind the scenes getting prepared for games like Thursday night, and sitting near the court he had a chance to experience the result of those workouts.

“They play some great, solid basketball,” He said. “They’re really good, and they play with some chemistry out there, and they’re really unselfish in making the extra pass. You can see the results.”

The hard work is something Muhammad can appreciate. He was lauded by his UCLA coach, Ben Howland, for his work ethic and “gym rat” approach when he was selected in the first round of June’s NBA Draft. That work ethic was a topic of conversation with him during his Draft night conference call.

During his time here in town, Muhammad has gotten his body prepared for next week’s Training Camp. At a recent practice open to the media, Muhammad looked quick to the basket and showed off his athleticism getting to the rim.

He said Thursday he feels good, he’s comfortable where his body is heading into camp and he’s felt comfortable here in town. At halftime, both owner Glen Taylor and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders stopped by to greet the rookie.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me,” Muhammad said. “And like I said, just to be out here supporting the Lynx and working hard. It’s going to be a great thing for me, and I can’t wait to get out on the court and start.”

The Wolves hold their annual media day on Monday next week, then head to Mankato for four days of Training Camp before opening up the preseason at home against CSKA Moscow on Oct. 7.

If things go right for the Lynx, they’ll still be playing in the WNBA Finals at that point. Muhammad said he sees that as a pretty feasible scenario.

“I’m feeling [a deep playoff run],” Muhammad said. “They’re looking really good against a really good Mercury team. They’re really locking up on defense and playing together. That’s what it’s all about.”

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