Practice Report: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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After a solid win Wednesday against Philadelphia, the Wolves got routed Friday in Oklahoma City by a tough Thunder team. But Nikola Pekovic doesn’t see the loss as a step backwards.

“I wouldn’t say it was a step back, everybody knows that OKC is a great team,” Pekovic said. “The team was fighting good, playing all the way til the end, but they were scoring a lot of shots so it was a tough night. I don’t think we played bad, we played good.”

While the Wolves—especially their bench—played fine last night, the simple fact was that the Thunder were clicking on all cylinders.

“It’s just that they are a great team,” Pekovic said. “The toughest team in the league, probably. So it was a tough time for us, but I think still we played a good game. If we play with the same energy tomorrow, we’ll be fine.”

Ricky Rubio added a similar comment, praising the league’s second-most prolific offense.

“They have the top scorers in the league like Kevin Durant, [Russell] Westbrook, Kevin Martin,” Rubio said. “They’re a top team. We just have to learn what we did good on offense and keep doing it and learn what we did bad on defense and try to improve it.”

Budinger’s Return?

Many fans and observers have wondered what the Wolves would be like had Chase Budinger not torn his meniscus in November. Several months past surgery, Budinger is working hard on a daily basis to rehabilitate his knee and work on his shooting.

Today at practice, he was working with player development coach David Adelman on his jumpshot, shooting free throws and extending beyond the arc.

“I’m feeling more comfortable,” Budinger said, “especially shooting the ball. I’m able to gain some elevation on my shot without pain. It’s still hard to run and jump off that one leg, but it’s coming along.”

Budinger heads down to his specialist in Florida on Monday for a checkup and an update on his progress.

“I actually go down and see the doctor on Monday to hopefully clear me on more running, jumping, cutting,” Budinger added. “Hopefully everything will be cleared down in Florida. Jumping and cutting is the final movement.”

He did not put a date on his return, saying that it was still too far out to predict a timeline.

Quick Hits

  • Ricky Rubio on lifting weights with Pekovic: “When he do weights, you don’t want to be around him. He takes 100 pounds on each side, easy. It’s too much for me.”


  • Greg Stiemsma on his career-high tying 13 points last night: “It felt good to get some extended minutes, especially on a stage like that. Any time I can get out there against those kinds of teams and play against the best.”


  • Rubio on having to change his pre-game routine with an afternoon tip-off Sunday: “Yeah, it’s going to be different. I don’t know if lunch first or lunch after the game. I think it will be a big breakfast and that’s it.”


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