Practice Report: Thursday, January 12

Practice Report: Thursday, January 12

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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The Timberwolves had consecutive off days Wednesday and Thursday, a luxury the team will not enjoy again until All-Star Weekend on Feb. 23-27. The Wolves took full advantage of the two-day hiatus—resting during their non-practice afternoon on Wednesday before returning for practice on Thursday at the Lifetime Fitness Training Center.

No question, the players enjoyed the break.

“We needed it,” rookie Ricky Rubio said. “After back-to-back(-to-backs), you feel it in your legs. We needed the rest. I like where we’re at. We did a great job in Washington but not enough in Toronto and half enough against Chicago. We have to realize we can do good things, but only if we are focused for 48 minutes.”

Minnesota opens up a two-game road trip Friday in New Orleans and plays Saturday in Atlanta. The Wolves have eight more off days this month, and of those days at least three of them will likely be non-practice days since they follow games on back-to-back nights. That means right now, practice time is at a premium.

“That makes it tough,” forward Anthony Tolliver said. “It is really important for us to concentrate every single time we get practice time. Even if it’s an hour, hour and a half, we just really need to concentrate and focus on our system and getting it right so we can carry on over into the game.”

All around effort

Coach Rick Adelman the team had a good attitude during Thursday’s workout and got a lot accomplished. The team adjusted its lineup to start the second half against the Bulls, sending out Rubio, Tolliver and Anthony Randolph alongside Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour, but Adelman said the team hasn’t made any decisions about the lineup and its rotations for this weekend.

“We didn’t defend very well and we shot very poorly,” Adelman said of the past two games. “We worked on both ends of the court today and hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow.”

Tolliver said everyone contributing—whether they start or come off the bench—has been an important factor so far this year. It’s something he and the team hope to continue.

“We know what our job is, come in, play with lots of energy, play defense and hopefully expand on leads or get the lead,” Tolliver said. “Just do better. At the end of the day, the starters have done decent so far. But as the bench unit, our goal is to do even better. We’ve had some success, and it’s been fun playing with Ricky and JJ coming off the bench.”

Injury updates and personnel notes

The Wolves will again be without two of their go-to players during this weekend’s road trip. Forward Michael Beasley will miss both games thanks to the right mid foot sprain he suffered against Cleveland on Jan. 6. Guard JJ Barea, who suffered a left ankle sprain near the end of Tuesday’s game against Chicago, will also not travel on the trip.

Center Brad Miller, who has not played in a game yet this season since having microfracture surgery on his left knee in May, practiced with the team Thursday during their half-court sets. Adelman said it’s early to say how quickly he can return, and the team is interested to see how he feels after practice.

Forward Kevin Love had an excused absence from practice due to personal reasons on Thursday, but he is traveling with the team for the weekend road trip.

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