NEW ORLEANS – The Timberwolves signed veteran Isaiah Canaan to a 10-day contract last week to shore up their depth at point guard, as injuries mounted to Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones.
On Friday, the Wolves needed Canaan to start against the Pelicans as Jerryd Bayless was out because of a right big toe injury, while Teague was only available off the bench. It was fortuitous timing in a way for Canaan, who grew up in Biloxi, Miss., about a 90-minute drive northeast of New Orleans. Canaan said he had over 20 people make the trip from Biloxi to see him play on the final day of his 10-day contract.
“It’s always good to be able to come home,” Canaan said. “Playing in front of family and friends that can’t always see games all the time, can only catch it on the TV, to actually just see them … and get a chance to play in front of them is a blessing.”
Canaan’s family was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when he was 14, and he said they were “homeless for close to a month” until FEMA was able to assist with their living situation. That helped shape Canaan’s perspective toward life and basketball.
“You value life a lot more,” Canaan said. “As a 14-year-old, wake up, playing with your friends, that’s all you know, something like that traumatic happened, now you’re looking for a place to stay. House is not the same. Town’s not the same. So you just got to grow up a lot quicker.”
It’s also made Canaan grateful for the opportunities he has had in his career, like this one with the Wolves, who gave him a chance after Phoenix waived him earlier this season as he was making his way back from a fractured ankle.
“Nothing is given. Nothing has ever been given,” said Canaan, who had 12 points and five assists in 31 minutes Friday night. “You had to work for everything, and it’s just another chance to display what I can do, what I can continue to do and try to go out there and compete and help the team win as much as possible.”
Davis suits up
Friday marked Anthony Davis’ first time back in a Pelicans uniform since he requested a trade from the organization before Thursday’s trade deadline, which went by without New Orleans striking a deal. Coach Alvin Gentry said New Orleans didn’t plan to play Davis his usual 37 minutes Friday, and they stuck to that plan as he played just 25 minutes, none in the fourth quarter. ESPN reported Davis will play fewer minutes throughout the season and will be limited in back-to-back situations as the Pelicans try to preserve his health and subsequent trade value.
There were reports the Pelicans considered shutting Davis down for the season, but ESPN also reported the league threatened to fine New Orleans $100,000 for each game he might sit while healthy.
Momentous FSN broadcast
Marney Gellner took over play-by-play duties on the Fox Sports North broadcast Friday for Dave Benz, who flew home to attend his mother’s funeral. Rebekkah Brunson joined her and Jim Petersen as an analyst on the call while Vanessa Lambert produced the game for FSN. According to FSN, it marked the first time in NBA history women have occupied the roles of analyst, play-by-play commentator and producer for the same broadcast.