Practice Report | Nov. 7, 2013

Practice Report | Nov. 7, 2013

From the sound of things, Thursday’s film session was both telling and informative for the Timberwolves. Coming off a 106-93 loss on Wednesday to Golden State, coach Rick Adelman and his staff sat the players down prior to practice and thoroughly combed through some of the high- and lowlights of the previous day’s defeat.

They’re hoping that will springboard them forward against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

“All they had to do was look at it and they knew it,” Adelman said. “I asked them a number of times, ‘What is this play? Because I don’t recognize it.’ It’s just a matter of concentration. And I think that happens when you have games and you have back-to-backs, took a day off, play last night. You start to get attrition when you can’t go through things every day. It’s just human nature. You fall back on habits.”

The Wolves weren’t able to maintain consistent energy on Wednesday night, and that’s something Adelman said the team needs to work toward moving forward. And with this stretch coming up, they’ll need that energy for all 48 minutes. Not only are they facing a Mavericks team that, most likely, will be right in the thick of the race for the West’s seventh and eighth spots come April, but they’ll also take a trip out to Los Angeles to face the Lakers and Clippers on back-to-back nights.

That’s not exactly an easy stretch of ball—those three games all in four days.

“I’ve always felt that if you look at the schedule that this week is going to be, it will tell us a lot about our team,” Adelman said.

So how did the players react after watching film this afternoon?

Wolves center Nikola Pekovic said it was pretty obvious the disparity between the Wolves’ capabilities and how they performed at home against a dangerous Warriors team.

“We just discovered we are way better than what we showed in yesterday’s game,” he said. “And you know, I mean this league is like that. Sometimes you get a good night, sometimes you get bad nights. But when you have bad nights, you have to push more, play defense or something. Those are things we’re talking about today.”

Adelman said the Wolves simply need to keep the energy high and take care of business. It starts Friday against Dallas.

“We have to do a better job,” Adelman said. “Our guys, we can. We’ve shown we can do it. But sometimes it’s you have to take a step back and come out tomorrow and turn it back around.”

Wolves Hope Pekovic Heats Up Soon

After signing an extension with the Timberwolves over the offseason, center Nikola Pekovic has gotten off to a slow start, averaging 11 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. While those numbers don’t look too far off, it’s noticeable that Pekovic isn’t quite comfortable.

That’s expected after he was the main option for the team last season with the injury to Kevin Love. Plus, adding in shooting guard Kevin Martin means less touches for Pekovic down low. This is a new offense for the bruiser with new players around him.

Wolves head coach Rick Adelman thinks the team can do a better job of getting the big man the ball, but Pekovic needs to relax a bit when he gets it.

“I thought we could have gotten him the ball a number of times last night and we didn’t do it,” Adelman said. “… He’s got to work at it and get position and he’s got to have a little patience, I think he’s kind of rushing it when he gets it now and he just has to have some patience.”

Pekovic attributes that to this team still getting used to each other. With the impact of last season’s injuries, this squad doesn’t have a lot of experience with each other. While last night was a bit ugly, he thinks things will end up working themselves out as the team gets more time on the court together.

“We’re not really thinking about ourselves, when you win games everybody looks good. When you lost games, everybody looks bad,” Pekovic said. “It’s normal, I mean I think it’s normal because we don’t play together for so long time, and basically we are like a new group.”

Quick Hits

  • Adelman said that Golden State is a tough team, but there was no excuse for his team to fall apart like they did late in the game. It’s hard to say if Minnesota would have won the game being it didn’t execute the game plan.

    “We played really poorly and they had one guy who is just one fire. And we still weren’t out of the game until the fourth quarter, so I don’t think it’s matchups because you don’t, you can’t get an adequate read on it if you don’t do it right.”

  • Adelman said he’s been impressed with how Kevin Love is facilitating the ball. It’s an emphasis they’ve placed on him all season since Day 1, and he’s definitely been showcasing it both with his outlet passes and finding his teammates in half court sets. He’s got three straight nights with at least five assists going, and he’s had at least four assists in four of his first five games this year. The last time he put together at least four assists in a five game stretch was Jan. 13-24, 2011.

  • Pekovic said he’s reached out to Gorgui Dieng to help him with adapting to the NBA game, especially learning to handle the physicality without fouling. Pekovic had trouble staying out of foul trouble when he was a rookie, and he said he’s been through this before.

    “I know how it’s kind of frustrating,” Pekovic said. “I’ve been trying to help him and try to teach him how to play against big guys. That’s sometimes, you know, it’s kind of a period you know of adaptation and everything. I’ve talked to him a lot. I know he’s going to have enough, he’ll have foul trouble for some time but he just needs to use all the talent he has on the court.”

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