By Jerry Zgoda
A couple of updates on the Wolves’ formerly injured after Sunday’s 99-83 loss to Dallas at Target Center:
Theo Ratliff played 13 minutes in his second game back after missing 45 games because of a knee injury and blocked his first two shots since his return: He swatted shots by Jason Terry and Brandon Bass within a minute of each other early in the second quarter. He also had four rebounds, two assists and scored three points and afterward coach Randy Wittman made it sound like it’s only a matter of time, if he stays healthy, before he works his way back into the starting lineup, where he started the season.
“It felt good,” Ratliff said. “I got in the right positions, detoured a couple of people. There were reluctant when I was down there. They were very reluctant. That’s just my M.O. They recognize that and know it’s not an easy task. It always feels good to do the things you’ve always done throughout your career.”
Meanwhile, Randy Foye regressed, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting in 25 minutes.
“He’s going through ups and downs right now,” Wittman said. “That’s what sitting out for 3 1/2 months does to you.”
* Wittman lamented his team’s willingness once again to rely too much on the jump shots and said if it seemed like he tried to call a play for Al Jefferson every time they came out of a huddle in the second half, that’s the reason why.
* Jason Kidd’s 17 assists rather ho-hum for him, but it would have tied the Wolves’ franchise record.
“We have an All-Star point guard who wasn’t going to let us lose,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. “I gave him one or two things to think about, but other than that he knew how to run the team.”
* Johnson attributed Al Jefferson’s 21 points through three quarters and his one point scored in the fourth to the defense Mavs center Erick Dampier played on him after halftime.
“That pretty much won the game,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t guard him in the first half.”
Asked if Dampier was the reason, Jefferson said, “No.”
*Kidd was instrumental in a 13-3 Mavs run that no so coincidentally came when Kidd returned to the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Mavs outscored the Wolves 28-12 in the fourth quarter after the teams matched each other point for point in each of the first three quarters.
“Playing in this league for a while, you understand that with five or six minutes left, that is where the game begins,” Kidd said.