Notebook: Timberwolves 107, Bucks 98



Posted Apr 4, 2013 1:00 AM

Rick Braun, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Nikola Pekovic scored 27 points, and Ricky Rubio added 19 points, 12 assists and eight steals as the Minnesota Timberwolves slowed Milwaukee's clinching of a playoff spot with a 107-98 victory over the Bucks Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks (36-38) with 29 points, but the Bucks committed nine of their 20 turnovers in the fourth quarter to hamper any chance of a rally.

The victory was the 999th of Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman's NBA career. He'll go for No. 1,000 Friday night when the Timberwolves (28-46) the Toronto Raptors.

The Bucks did see their magic number for clinching the eighth playoff spot in the East fall to two as Philadelphia lost at Charlotte.

QUOTABLE: "I've been working with (assistant coach) Terry Porter just getting more shots. I want to work as hard as I can because I know that shooting is one of the things I have to improve."

-- Rubio, who entered the game 15-for-64 on 3-pointers but made his first five and finished 5-for-6 from behind the arc

THE STAT: Coupled with their victory over Boston on Monday night, the Timberwolves won consecutive games for the first time since capping a four-game winning streak with a victory over Dallas on Dec. 15.

TURNING POINT: A 16-footer by Larry Sanders pulled the Bucks within 95-91 with 6:06 left, but beginning with a Sanders turnover at 5:17, the Bucks committed five turnovers in a span of 3:35 as the Timberwolves pulled away.

QUOTABLE II: "Our field goal defense isn't very good right now. We're struggling a little bit with that. We've had some lulls, so that's definitely hurting us as well."

-- Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy, whose team has allowed the opposition to shoot over 50 percent the last three games

HOT: All five of the Timberwolves' starters shot 55.6 percent or better, with Andrei Kirilenko being the low man at 5-for-9. Pekovic was 11-for-14 (78.6 percent). Rubio and Derrick Williams both went 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) and Luke Ridnour went 5-for-8 (62.5 percent).

NOT: J.J. Redick went just 4-for-13 and could not follow up on a strong 8-for-12 showing in Monday's victory. Redick is now 87-for-209 (41.6 percent) since joining the Bucks on Feb. 22.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Rubio was just two steals short of a triple-double, but Adelman joked that he pulled him with 26.1 seconds left because he also had eight turnovers and didn't want him reaching double digits in that category.

QUOTABLE III: "I think when you get it then you reflect on it. I've had some really great situations. I've had some great players and coaching staffs that have helped me along the way. More importantly, there's a lot of sacrifice that goes on between your family, your wife and everything else. It'll be nice. I want to get there first, though."

-- Adelman on his approaching 1,000th victory

GOOD MOVE: When the Bucks went with a small lineup that included guards Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis and Redick, the Timberwolves began switching on nearly all picks. That was a key factor in forcing nine fourth-quarter turnovers.

NOTABLE: The Timberwolves' 33 assists are a season high. ... Rubio had never made more than two 3-pointers in a game before making five in the first half. ... Pekovic is averaging 28 points over the last two games. ... Minnesota has won a season-high three straight road games. ... Luc Richard Mbah a Moute returned after missing Monday's game with illness but only played six minutes. ... Eight of Ilyasova's 12 rebounds were on the offensive end. ... Sanders had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Friday vs. Toronto, Saturday vs. Detroit, Tuesday @ Golden State. For the Bucks, Friday @ New York, Saturday vs. Toronto, Tuesday @ Miami.