Practice Report | Oct. 31

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Practice Report | Oct. 31, 2013

The main focus during Thursday’s practice at the Target Center wasn’t on last night’s overtime thriller, but instead on the next opponent for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have gone through some changes throughout the last few seasons.

After competing for the 2012 NBA Championship with a core of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will come to the Target Center tomorrow with just Durant on the court.

Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets, while Westbrook will be out with a knee injury.

Still, beating Oklahoma City is a tough task. If LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, Durant isn’t far behind.

“I knew how special he was on the court,” said Kevin Martin, who played with Durant last season in Oklahoma City.

After being spoiled with shooting guards like Harden and Martin over the last two seasons, Oklahoma City doesn’t have the star power it used to have at the 2-guard spot. Wolves head coach Rick Adelman isn’t convinced that will make anything easier, though.

“Yeah, it’s changed them big time. I mean, losing Harden obviously was a huge decision on their part and Kevin, also, but Durant’s just kind of expanded his game until Westbrook gets back and you’ve got two guys that maybe you don’t need a third,” Adelman said. “They are both awfully good. They are a very good team. Very well coached. They all do their jobs. They’ve got eight guys who are solid at the jobs they do and when you have a guy like Durant, you’ve got a chance to win every game.”

The Small Forward Position

After a great performance from Corey Brewer in last night’s 120-115 overtime win over the Orlando Magic (16 points, three steals, 7-of-11 from the field), it looks like Brewer has earned himself a few more starts.

“The starting lineup is pretty set right now,” Adelman said. “I think Corey really showed what he can do last night.”

Going into the game, Adelman voiced how he was unsure on who would start at the 3, but Orlando made it easy for him, as the Magic had three guards on the court for the majority of the game. Brewer will have the tough task of going against OKC’s Kevin Durant tomorrow evening.

Adelman said Brewer will be the main defender, but Minnesota will send anyone they can at Durant in hopes to slow him down.

“Nobody has luck (against Durant),” Adelman said. “There’s going to be a lot of people with a shot at him. There’ s Derrick (Williams) or D.C. (Dante Cunningham), Corey, Robbie (Hummel), I don’t know. Throw everybody at him.”

There was thought that Williams might earn the start lasnt night, but after Orlando threw out three guards, Adelman said the matchup wasn’t right. Williams said after practice that he wasn’t disappointed on not getting in the game, though.

“No, we won,” Williams said. “Can’t be disappointed when we win.”

Williams has the potential to see some time tomorrow night, but Adelman said a favorable matchup for him might be on Saturday when the Wolves travel to play Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks if Anthony plays the 3.

“That’s a type of thing you’d see Derrick because he has size against him,” Adelman said.

Quick Hits

  • Martin had the chance of playing alongside Durant last season and even though it was only for a year, he gained a lot of respect for him. He also said he’s comparable to Kevin Love in certain ways.

    “They’re both on that superstar level. They both have different types of games, but you want them on your side in the final moments of the game. They’re great players in this league.”

  • The last two players on the court were rookies Gorgui Dieng and Robbie Hummel. Dieng looked to be working some low-post moves, while Hummel was shooting some 3s on the other side of the court. Hummel is a guy that Adelman has hinted to getting some playing time soon. Something to keep an eye one.
  • Adelman said that he liked how Rubio was going to the rim early in Wednesday’s game, but then again, everything in that first quarter went well. Rubio shot just 5-of-15 from the field. Adelman thinks a few more of those shots will fall as the season goes forward.

    “I think he had about two or three shots that he’s going to knock down eventually,” Adelman said. “… His legs weren’t quite there.”

  • The Wolves tipoff at 7 p.m. against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Target Center. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.