Practice Report: Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012
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The Timberwolves wrapped up their preseason schedule on Friday against Milwaukee in grand fashion, a 100-76 victory in Green Bay that in a nutshell told the tale of how the Wolves have competed in this seven-game preseason.
The Wolves finished the second half of the exhibition slate looking more and more comfortable offensively, and defensively the team played about as sound as they could have asked heading into the regular season opener on Friday. Minnesota held its opponents to fewer than 20 points in four of its final preseason quarters, and over their seven games they gave up an NBA-best 80.86 points per game—6.28 points per game better than second place Chicago.
The Wolves went 5-2 in the preseason and also led the league in point differential at +11.57. Both were products of continued improvement during October, which is what coach Rick Adelman said was most satisfying about the exhibition season.
“Every day we talked about getting better, and every day we came to work and there weren’t any practices where we had a bad practice,” Adelman said. “Guys put the effort in, they listened, and I think if you keep doing that and you keep responding, whether you win or lose if you keep that attitude you’re going to get better.”
Now the challenge is to continue that trend into Friday, when the Wolves take on Sacramento at Target Center in the regular season opener. The Wolves have seven days in between their final exhibition contest and the start of the regular season, which gives Minnesota a little extra time to get prepped. Adelman said it’s nice to have that extra practice time, because once the season gets going stretches of off days like this don’t come along often.
Wolves guard Luke Ridnour said it’s only going to help everyone get better acquainted with one another on the court.
“Any time you get a week just to practice together for your first game is huge for us,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are new, and we’re still trying to learn each other. The preseason to regular season is a whole different ballgame, so we have to go come Nov. 2.”
Ridnour set for opener
Wolves guard Luke Ridnour missed the Milwaukee game due to personal reasons, but on Wednesday against Detroit he started and played 25 minutes after missing much of the preseason with a back injury. Adelman has been complimentary about Ridnour’s progress and play over the past week, and Ridnour said he continues to get more and more ready physically for the start of the regular season.
“I’m getting there,” Ridnour said. “Obviously I have to get the cardio up. It’s just really important for our team to get off to a good start. Everyone of us has to do a little bit more with the situation we’re in with injuries. But I think we can do it and we’ve got guys who can step up and get it done.”
Adelman also said forward Lou Amundson, who missed Friday’s game against Milwaukee with back spasms, looked fine in practice Sunday at LifeTime Fitness Training Center.
- Wolves guard Brandon Roy said the coaches have been working on trying to give him different looks in offensive sets, not only in scoring roles but also being able to create opportunities for his teammates.
“We have some pretty good ideas,” Roy said. “I’m a lot more comfortable I would say now than I was two weeks ago when I was trying to figure out where I wanted to be on the court. Now I feel good going into the first game. I’m good with all the sets. I know the offense and I know where to be at to create some offense.”
- Forward Dante Cunningham said considering the injuries that sidelined Kevin Love (broken right hand) and Ricky Rubio (left knee surgery) for the first part of the season, the Wolves have been able to handle the setbacks and still find ways to work through it. As a result the team is more confident knowing they can work together and compete while both players are recovering.
“I guess that’s a positive of the preseason and king of losing [Love] now instead of during the season when we’re actually rolling and everything counts for something,” Cunningham said. “Now we know what it takes to win without him, and we think we’re ready.”