Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders has looked a lot like his late father Flip through his first two games in charge, whether he's conducting his pregame radio interviews on the court or running 5-52 Twist, one of his dad's favorite plays.
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who's gotten to know Saunders since his father's death three years ago, favorably compared the 32-year-old to the late coaching legend before the teams clashed Friday.
"Since his dad passed, Ryan and I have spent a lot of time together talking basketball, talking about the league, his career, a lot of things that I learned when I was his age being around great basketball people like Chuck Daly, Bill Fitch, Larry Bird," Carlisle said, according to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski. "You never know what's going to happen, but this opportunity is something that is great for him. He's built so similarly to his dad in terms of his character, in terms of his amazing way with people, in terms of his positive view on things that I know this arena is going to be a zoo tonight."
The Mavs defeated the T-Wolves 119-115 on Friday evening. Minnesota (20-22) is in a three-way tie for 11th place in the Western Conference, just 2.5 games back of a playoff spot entering Saturday's play.