Practice Report: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Injured Wolves forward Chase Budinger was in Florida on Monday to correspond with Dr. James Andrews. He was cleared for agility and running drills, and he will be re-evaluated again in two to three weeks.

Budinger underwent surgery on Nov. 13 to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. His injury occurred in the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s game at Chicago on Nov. 10, and he was averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game prior to his injury. He was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with Houston on June 26.

Ricky Getting to the Line

Ricky Rubio has shown a noticeable increase in heading to the foul line lately, shooting more than 10 attempts in three out of his last four games. Local media inquired to coach Rick Adelman on why he thinks there have been more opportunities at the line for Rubio.

“I think it’s a sign of aggressiveness,” Adelman said. “He’s picking and choosing the right times when he has an angle, he can pick up a bump and go to the line.”

Rubio said that it’s just one more way for Minnesota to try and score without some of their top producers.

“I think we have to be more aggressive,” Rubio said. “We have to attack more at the line. Maybe last year I was a rookie and they didn’t call those fouls. But we don’t have Kevin [Love], who had like 20 times a game. We have to get those free throws. I’m just trying to get more aggressive.

“Sometimes you can get like 10 points from free throws even when you aren’t having a good day with your shooting. You have to be good every time, you know?”

Cunningham talks road trip

Before the Timberwolves departed for the West Coast on Monday for a three-game road trip, Dante Cunningham shared his thoughts on sleep patterns and facing three different opponents this week.

“The biggest thing is just trying to keep your sleep pattern the same,” Cunningham said. “You want to sleep the same way you would if you were here. You don’t want to get caught up in trying to go to sleep on west coast time, then you get back here and you’re off. You don’t want to play catch up with sleep. But we have enough time where you can sleep the same way and eat the same way.”

Cunningham has a lot of respect for West Coast teams, noting that this is a trip the Wolves can use to improve and develop on the road through various challenges. It starts in Phoenix on Tuesday.

“They’re a great team shooting the ball, they get a lot of threes,” Cunningham said. “A team like that, they push the ball hard on you and then catch the guys trailing behind for threes. It’s a tough combination.”

Then, on Thursday, the Wolves will jump over a state to face the Lakers at Staples Center on Feb. 28. Once speculated to miss the playoffs, Los Angeles has won four of its last five and is sitting on the cusp of the eighth seed.

“They’re always going to be a team that’s in contention. They always find a way to get a win at the right time. It’s definitely time to turn it on, they understand that. It’s that time, and this is a veteran team.”

The final installment of the trip is in Portland on Saturday, a team that has already bested Minnesota three times this year.

“At their place they have a great crowd,” Cunningham said of the Blazers. “It’s one of those places where it’s always packed. They’re always cheering, they’re always booing, it’s something to worry about. They have a great backcourt. Again, shooting 3s in transition, once you turn the ball over there it’s off to the races.”

After the road trip, the Wolves return to Target Center to host Miami on March 4.

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