Timberwolves game against Maccabi Ra’anana much bigger than basketball

The Minnesota Timberwolves host Maccabi Ra’anana Tuesday night at Target Center in an exhibition.

On the surface, it’s a meaningless scrimmage to get ready for the Oct. 25 regular season opener at the Toronto Raptors. But dig a little deeper, and the night is much bigger than basketball.

Maccabi Ra’anana is a team in the second-tier division of the Israeli National League. The team was already on U.S. soil when the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel earlier this month. Israel then declared war in what’s become the daily international story to follow.

The team has seven players from Israel, and several staff members. There are also five Americans on the roster. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch talked on Monday at practice about hosting a team from Israel amid the turmoil. You can’t blame the players from Maccabi Ra’anana if their minds are elsewhere while they’re on the court.

"These are always super emotional things. Obviously they’ll have played a couple games over here with their minds on things that are going on back home," Finch said.

Maccabi Ra’anana also played the Brooklyn Nets last Thursday, and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

If you’re going to Tuesday’s game looking to see the Timberwolves’ big names play, you will be disappointed. Finch said he does not plan on playing anybody in the regular rotation.

"For us, we’re basically going to play a lot of our bottom 10 guys, our young guys who are all fighting for the last roster spot and the last two-way spot. I anticipate not even playing our top eight or nine guys at all," Finch said.