MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Timberwolves are ironically coping with the death of Flip Saunders by playing basketball.

It helps when you go 2-0 on the road to start the season, creating some optimism. The Timberwolves started the season with wins, and credit some of it to communication.

“Most importantly we’re talking. We’re communicating. Guys like (Andrew) Wiggins, guys like Bjelly (Nemanja Bjelica) who don’t normally like to talk and are kind of quiet guys. They’re even actively talking so that makes a big difference,” Kevin Garnett said.

Adding to the energy, the No. 1 overall pick looks like the stage is not too big for him already.

“Yeah I am, I’m having a lot of fun making my dreams come true and playing in the league I’ve always wanted to play in,” Karl-Anthony Towns said.

Everyone knows there will be a great deal of emotion inside Target Center Monday night as they honor Flip Saunders. The team is trying to deal with that, deflect that and make sure that it doesn’t get in the way of their goal: To win a basketball game.

They have made an effor to not try to talk about Saunders, even with indirect questions.

Because the coach wants them to understand that the basketball arena is where you are free to play, a time to cherish.

“And at seven o’clock or whatever time the game is, that’s their refuge,” coach Sam Mitchell said. “We talk about it all the time when you’re home, once you get in the car your mindset has to be on playing basketball and when we’re on the road when we get on the bus it’s time to start thinking about what you have to do.”

Following the emotional tribute to Flip before the game, the Timberwolves will host the Portland Trailblazers in their home opener. A team, which Flip Saunders was so looking forward to coaching, has a great chance to go 3-0 to start the season.

Towns also became the youngest player in league history to have double-doubles in scoring and rebounding in his first two games.

Mike Max