Practice Report: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate


After media availability wrapped up at LifeTime Fitness Training Center on Wednesday, the Timberwolves released official word that forward Kevin Love broke his right hand during a morning workout and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Love, who was coming off a 24-point performance in Tuesday’s 114-81 preseason win over Maccabi Bazan Haifa, broke the third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand. He will be examined by Dr. Andy Weiland, a hand specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, on Thursday for further evaluation.

Following an offseason in which the Wolves revamped their roster, the injury to the two-time All-Star changes the complexion of the team’s minutes allocation in the front court. Coach Rick Adelman said at practice today that his big man depth is substantial based off performances in the team’s four preseason games so far, which could help ease the loss of Love through the first two months of the season.

In particular, Adelman has been impressed with the energy Lou Amundson and Dante Cunningham have brought to the table. Derrick Williams started at power forward in Love’s absence last year, and Andrei Kirilenko has not yet been rotated to the 4 this preseason.

At the 5, center Nikola Pekovic is a mainstay in the starting lineup and newly acquired Greg Stiemsma has proven his ability on the defensive end.

“We’re trying to evaluate what’s going to be the best rotation we can start with, and it certainly won’t be written in stone,” Adelman said prior to Love’s injury being made public. “Our staff is going to have to make a decision on who will start the rotation. If everybody’s healthy, that’s a lot of people.”

Evaluating Tuesday’s Performance

The day after Minnesota’s 114-81 preseason win over Maccabi Bazan Haifa, Adelman shared his impressions with media at the Lifetime Fitness practice facility.

The first quarter of last night’s game was frustrating for the Timberwolves’ offense, as they shot 1-11 from the field to begin the contest.

“We had shots at the basket, but I thought we hurried everything,” Adelman said. “We took a lot of off-balance shots. We knew we had an advantage on them around the basket, but we have to finish the play.”

So what clicked in the second half to get things rolling?

“We were more patient,” Adelman said. “Better spacing, moved the ball a little bit better. We defended them a little bit better. I just don’t think we came out to play as hard as we should have, because we talked about us getting better regardless of who you’re playing against.”

Minnesota’s starting lineup moved past their early struggles and went on to put up solid numbers, led by Love’s 24 points and another 19 from Brandon Roy. But with everyone coming off of an intense training camp and various players missing some preseason action, Adelman wanted to evaluate his top group for an extended period last night.

“We know there are possibilities there,” Adelman said of his starters. “There are some things we can do, but we have to work on them and find situations where we can go to certain people. We are going to be doing that in practice and trying to do that in these last three games.”

Stock Rising for Cunningham

One of the brightest spots off of last night’s bench was newcomer Dante Cunningham, a forward who was received in the Wayne Ellington trade with Memphis this summer. Cunningham enjoyed an especially efficient game against Maccabi Haifa, totaling 11 points [5-6 shooting] and five rebounds in just 13 minutes.

“What you see is who he is,” Adelman said of Cunningham. “He’s an energy type of player, he’s good defensively, and he’s got a lot of pluses.”

Cunningham was drafted out of Villanova in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft and spent time in Portland, Charlotte and Memphis before arriving at Minnesota.

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