Practice Report | Nov. 14, 2013
Practice Report | Nov. 14, 2013
Wolves shooting guard Kevin Martin was back at practice today and is scheduled to be available for Friday’s game in Denver against the Nuggets.
Martin was a surprise late scratch before last night’s 124-95 win over the Cavaliers due to flu-like symptoms. It was officially announced he would not dress about 35 minutes before tipoff—about the same time the Wolves coaching staff notified Robbie Hummel he would be getting his first career start at small forward and Corey Brewer would be moved to shooting guard.
But Martin was back on Thursday for the team’s brief practice. When did he start feeling better?
“I started feeling better after the first half,” Martin joked—the Wolves scored 70 points in the first 24 minutes last night. “The team made me feel a lot better.”
It’s a strong testament to the Wolves team that they were able to put up such efficient scoring numbers without their starting 2-guard, who just so happened to be averaging the sixth most points per game in the league heading into last night. Minnesota responded by shooting 64.5 percent from the floor through three quarters. That included 108 points at that stage of the game, when coach Rick Adelman emptied the bench and took the starters out for the night.
Martin said the effort didn’t surprise him at all. Sometimes when a team misses a player, it gets others amped up to help fill that void.
“I’ve been in that situation,” Martin said. “When a guy who takes a lot of shots goes out, you’re chomping. You’re ready to get into the game. And that’s what they did last night. I wasn’t surprised. I was a proud big brother last night.”
Now Martin is presumably back and joining Wolves team that continues to improve how it moves the ball and continues to pour on points—especially early. Minnesota is averaging 33.6 points per game in the first quarter this season, and they have four of the seven first quarters this year in which an NBA team has scored 38 points or more.
Wolves forward Kevin Love said the team feels like they can win these next two games—at Denver and home against Boston—and the team doesn’t want to stop this momentum. They just want to keep it rolling into Denver.
As for the fast starts? Love attributes it back to Training Camp when the second unit continued to beat the first team in early-season scrimmages.
“They kicked our butts seemingly every day,” Love said. “So you know, it’s been able to transition and carry over into first quarters. So we hope that holds up for the remainder of the season, and as far as we can take it. And that’s just a big testament to our second unit getting us prepared.”
“No, there should be no reason for that,” Adelman said. “Not in this league. If you do it that way, then you’re in trouble. I told them last night, during the course of a long season, you’re going to get on a good run and you want to take advantage of that… You want to get some type of momentum going.”
The Wolves will need plenty of momentum as they close out the month with nine games in 16 days, including four in the next six.
Love and Brewer have been keeping opponents on their toes this season. Love noted that it’s not a big deal if Brewer doesn’t leak out because that gives his team another rebounder.
At UCLA, Love was considered one of the best inbound and outlet passers in all of college basketball with teammates like Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook. Before this season, though, Love hasn’t had a teammate that can run like Brewer can.
“Well, Corey’s the one that kind of makes it go,” Adelman said. “Kevin’s always been able to make that pass, but Corey, he just streaks and once he starts going… Corey is pretty amazing. He never seems to get tired and he just keeps playing.