Practice Report: January 11, 2014

Practice Report: January 11, 2014

With players like Ronny Turiaf (at left) and Chase Budinger (at right) returning, the Wolves hope their bench will continue to be more balanced and explosive in the coming week. (Photo Credit: David Sherman & Jordan Johnson/NBAE/Getty Images)



Cristy Brusoe
Web Editorial Assistant

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The Timberwolves players took part in a light practice session early Saturday afternoon before packing up and jumping a plane to San Antonio to face the Spurs tomorrow night.

Spirits were high a night after the Wolves bench added 43 combined points in a 136-95 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

With the recent additions of Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf back into the lineup, coach Rick Adelman is starting to really like the mix of the second unit.

“Alexey [Shved]’s playing better; J.J. [Barea]’s playing well, adding Ronny and adding Chase, that gives us just that much more that we can do,” Adelman said.

With the returns of both players, there are less minutes in the rotation for players like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute—who also just returned from missing time with a groin injury. But he also brings a nice situational defensive presence.

“I think there’s times that Luc’s going to be very important,” Adelman said. “If we’re playing someone who has a [Kevin] Durant or we need a defender there, he can fit right in there.”

Meanwhile, he wasn’t the only one who felt the second unit is starting to find its way.

“I feel like our set of skills between the five of us is natural,” Turiaf said. “We have a playmaker in Alexey that can make cross-court passes. We have a strong shooter in Chase. We have a guy that can get us points on a nightly basis with JJ. We have a guy who can spread the floor with Dante. And I’m the guy who can block shots and kind of glue everything together.”

Chase Budinger was one of the key second unit contributors last night, adding eight points and spreading the floor.

“I think I’ve always done well playing with JJ and Alexey,” Budinger said. “They’re mostly ball-handlers, getting to the lane… and penetrating and kicking it out and I’m the guy they can kick it out too.”

Team’s Vocal Leaders

After speaking up over the course of the past few weeks, many have pegged Kevin Love as the vocal leader of the Wolves.

Adelman, however, emphasized that not every team functions in that way and that everyone has a voice on this team.

“Guys lead different ways: some by example, some by being vocal,” Adelman said. “I think everybody has to have the confidence that their voice is heard too. In time, Kevin Love (for instance) will grow into that. I think at the start… it’s not that easy to do.”

Kevin Love was described as the “go-to-guy” by Budinger, but as he explained, “He’s the guy who we rely on a lot. Especially in close games to kind of take over. But, he (coach) is right, everyone does have a voice on this team. We do have some veterans that will speak up here and there. It’s a good mix of guys.”

Quick Hits

  • Rubio and Barea took quite a few 3-point shots together. Barea practiced his vocal skills is screaming for the ball before taking the shot. Meanwhile, Chase was on the other end of the court… taking threes from around the line. Gorgui Dieng turned his focus to free throw shooting for a portion of practice.

  • Next up for the Timberwolves is tomorrow night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at 6 pm on FSN. The Wolves then return home for a few days before facing the Sacramento Kings.

    Adelman said those are very important games.

    “What we tried to do… today… we tried to look at some things offensively that we think could be good for both starters and the other guys,” Adelman said. “But, it’s going to take some time to introduce it. But, next week we have those two days before we play Sacramento that I think are going to be really important. One of the problems we’ve had in the games that were close is that we’re too stagnant offensively. I mean, we know who we want to go too, but we need more movement before that so that the defense can’t just lock in on us. That’s why we’re turning the ball over. We’re just in a tough spot. Having these guys is really going to help us through the course of the game. Because we can run a lot of different things and still look for Pek and Kevin.”



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