Timberwolves Showcase Skills, Personalities At Scrimmage
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When Alicia Wassen found out the Timberwolves were hosting their annual free preseason scrimmage on Monday at Target Center, she couldn't help but get excited to attend. She and her friend, after all, have tickets to the season opener next Monday against Oklahoma City.
Little did the Crosby resident know when she got there, she'd be taking on two of the Wolves biggest stars in a game of P-I-G.
"I was scared because I'm really bad at basketball, but was really fun," she said. "I wasn't sure what (the scrimmage) was going to be like, and I obviously didn't expect to be out on the floor. But it was a lot of fun, and there were a lot of people there."
Wassen and a fellow fan played P-I-G against point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Michael Beasley to open up Monday's hour-long fan interaction scrimmage at Target Center. The event drew fans from across Minnesota to check out the Timberwolves roster and get to know the team.
Along with a 10-minute team scrimmage, the Wolves participated in a Lightning contest, introduced rookies Rubio, Derrick Williams and Malcolm Lee through a singing contest and ended the event with a slam dunk competition.
For the Carlson family, who came from Owatonna, the event was more than just getting to watch Minnesota's club on the floor. Between Williams' and Lee's rendition of the National Anthem, accompanied by a fan for support, and Rubio's attempt at matching his fellow rookie teammates in a dance off, the Carlsons got an up-close look at the team's personality.
"I just wanted to see how they interacted and catch the level of excitement," Cathi Carlson said. "See how they're kind of gelling as a group. It's fun to see the initiations and see them becoming part of the team."
Forward Kevin Love said the event allowed the fans to see the playful side of the team, especially the rookie singing performances.
"That was part of the way for them to break the way for them to break the ice with the fans and get in touch with them on a more personal level," Love said.
But when it came to game time, the Wolves dazzled. Between Beasley's 360-degree dunk, an assortment of slams by Williams and a 3-pointer by center Darko Milicic, fans got to see a collection of athletic offensive plays.
"You can tell the whole community is looking forward to basketball season—kind of anxious, the people on Twitter and Facebook," Williams said. "They're getting the buzz back."
Wassen's favorite part of the scrimmage? Seeing Rubio in person, she said.
For the Wolves, getting a chance to interact with the fans was the best part.
"I was asking them earlier how many came last year? They said maybe half that," Williams said. "It's already turning around."
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