Practice Report: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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With the NBA All-Star break concluded, a solid week has transpired between regular season games, and the Timberwolves came to practice today energized and rested.

“I was relaxing here,” Nikola Pekovic said. “I was here for weights and conditioning. We expect to step up, now we’ve got AK [Andrei Kirilenko] back and I hope maybe middle of March we will have Chase [Budinger] back. I hope for more wins, I know for sure.”

Assistant coach Terry Porter ran practice, as Rick Adelman was with his wife for a medical check-up.

“I think the break was good,” Porter said. “It gave us a chance to really clear our minds. Everyone came back and we had a good practice today, we had good energy and good focus.”

Kirilenko, who has missed several games due to injury, is expected to play tomorrow.

“He’s pretty good,” Porter said of Kirilenko. “It was five days off for the rest of the guys, but he was out longer than that. There’s a little bit of conditioning, but he’s moving pretty good. As far as him running, there’s no bad looks when it comes to his stride. He looked good.”

Playoff Push?

The Wolves are 12th in the Western Conference right now with a 19-31 record, but the postseason is still within reach if they start getting hot.

“We are still within striking distance,” coach Porter said of the playoffs. “Obviously we have to go on a run, there’s no doubt about that. We definitely have to get healthy as quickly as we can and then go on a run. It’s something that can still be done and is still possible.”

Pekovic noted that although Minnesota’s record doesn’t reflect a playoff-caliber team, strong performances during games signify that this squad can play with any team in the league.

“I see signs that we can play against anybody,” Pekovic added. “We’ve played really good against some great teams, we just couldn’t finish. We’ve had at least 10 games where we couldn’t finish the last two or three minutes. We would like to win every game, but we just need to step up and finish games.”

Ricky Rubio is also looking for the Wolves to start a winning stretch. While Minnesota has shown signs of improved play, it has also failed to capitalize on some games that have been within reach.

“I think we had to get better because the last month had been tough for us. Last week we were improving, but we still lost a couple games that we could have won. We could have won, but we didn’t. We have to try to start winning more games.”

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