Practice Report: Monday, Dec. 3, 2012
Web Editorial Associate
Wolves forward Kevin Love was back at practice on Monday after battling an illness over the weekend that nearly forced him to miss Friday’s game and kept him out of practice on Sunday at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center.
Love said he wasn’t sure what the illness was, but all he cares about is that he's back.
“It seems to have lasted long than what food poisoning would,” Love said. “24-48 hours. I don’t know what it was, just a weird bug that has been lingering a little bit.”
Love and guard Malcolm Lee returned to practice on Monday before the team departed for its two-game road trip to Philadelphia and Boston. Lee missed Sunday with a sore left groin that also forced him to miss Friday’s game. He is officially listed as questionable for Tuesday. Forward Andrei Kirilenko did not return for practice on Monday and will not make the two-game trip out East.
For Love, who said he will be ready to play Tuesday against the 76ers, the flu-like symptoms began on the trip home from Los Angeles on Friday and continued throughout the weekend. Love was also forced to postpone an appearance on Saturday at the Inver Grove Heights Best Buy for his Coat Drive, which was rescheduled for Sunday, Dec. 9.
“Yesterday was the worst plane flight I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” Love said Friday after the Wolves’ 95-85 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. “I was contemplating playing or not, even out there in warm ups.”
With Love and Lee on the court, coupled with Ricky Rubio who participated for the second straight day, the Timberwolves joked about having 12 healthy players on the court at once.
“Coach said it after practice today; we broke on practice today knowing that we had 12 guys at the end of it, so we were happy with that,” Love said. “Hopefully it will stay that way.”
The situation at shooting guard has not been ideal for Minnesota, with Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger both undergoing knee surgeries. That has left a considerable hole at the position, leaving young players like Alexey Shved to seize the available playing time.
“He’s such a hard worker,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He does all the little things you need in games. He gets after loose balls, he’ll get an offensive board, he’ll make the right defensive play. It’s been a real pleasant surprise for us, because I hadn’t seen him that consistently until (training) camp. And from day one, he’s been good.”
Adelman has chosen to start second-year guard Malcolm Lee at shooting guard for eight games this season, however Shved has been averaging 24.4 minutes per game compared to Lee’s 18.
“He’s a guy we really rely on off the bench,” Adelman said. “I like JJ [Barea] and him together, but he’s shown what he can do in the fourth quarter. You have to make good decisions in the fourth quarter. We like Malcolm if he’s healthy starting, because he’s very consistent defensively. It gives us Alexey coming in off the bench.”
Although Shved has made nine of his last 17 attempts from behind the 3-point line, Adelman insists that the best is yet to come with the young Russian’s long-range abilities.
“I really believe he’s a much better shooter than he’s shown to this point. I think it’s the kind of shots he’s getting. When he gets on the floor, if he plays with Ricky for instance, he’ll knock those down. We’ve seen him time after time in practice make shots.”
Love echoed his coach’s feelings on the rookie. While he is making some first-year mistakes, his potential shines through and shows a promising future in the NBA.
“He plays like a guy who has been in the league for a while,” Love said. “Still makes mistakes, and you’ll see that on the defensive end and he’s still catching up with his English, which kind of deters him on the defensive end. But he’s still able to get it done and we’re happy to have him.”