Practice Report: Tuesday, February 14

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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If there is one thing Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman preached during Tuesday’s practice at Target Center, it’s resiliency.

Minnesota lost its fourth straight game on Monday in Orlando, its first such losing skid of the season, with the team’s main troubles stemming from turnovers and perimeter shooting during that stretch. But Adelman noted the team had been hot prior to the past four contests—winning nine of its previous 14 games—and the team needs to continue to stay focused.

“You’ve got to have resiliency,” Adelman said. “If you’re going to cave into the situation, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Adelman said the team watched film to emphasize and address some of the miscues taking place in the past few games. Adelman said the biggest necessary fix is making the simple pass instead of a “home run” play or a cross-court toss.

The Wolves are averaging 23 turnovers a game in their past three contests. They had 18 on Monday, and from 3-point range the team shot a combined 6-for-21.

“We’re just being too careless,” forward Kevin Love said. “We’re going to our youthful ways. If we clean that up, we’re going to be a lot better off. If we cut the turnovers in half, or even by 6-8 turnovers, we’d get a lot more possessions and a few more free throws up. That changes the whole game for us. If we do that we’ll win games.”

Minnesota inserted guard Martell Webster into the lineup on Monday in place of Luke Ridnour, who stayed in Minnesota for personal reasons. Ridnour was back at practice on Tuesday, and Adelman said he expects him to be back in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s matchup against Charlotte.

Adelman said the coaches have discussed mixing up the lineup, but nothing is definite. He said a win or two can change a lot in a hurry.

“Sometimes if you play good teams and you win a couple games, it turns everything the other way,” Adelman said. “We’ve done that this year already. There’s no reason we can’t do it again.”

Lee returns to practice

Rookie guard Malcolm Lee returned to practice on Tuesday after spending the past week with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League. Lee played in three games with the Skyforce while testing out his surgically repaired left knee, scoring 9.7 points and 6.0 assists in 25.3 minutes per game.

Lee said it’s good to be back in the mix and that his knee feels about 90 percent. He said he feels ready to play immediately, and in playing short 1-on-1 spurts against fellow rookie Derrick Williams, Lee looked like he was able to knock down shots and drive without hesitation.

“The more I play, the more confident I get,” Lee said.

Adelman said there is no timetable on Lee suiting up or returning to game action and that they will continue to monitor his knee over the next week.

Lee said he continues to watch film, learn both the point guard and shooting guard positions and watch his teammates’ tendencies so he’s ready if and when he’s called upon.

“(Chemistry) will take time to develop, but I also think I know the guys’ tendencies just from watching,” Lee said. “I know what they like to do, so I think that will help the process.”

Love preparing for 3-Point Shootout

Love said Tuesday he has received and confirmed an invitation to participate in the Foot Locker 3-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Orlando. The event takes place at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, Feb. 25 and will be televised on TNT.

Love spent time practicing the 3-point competition after practice, taking five shots from five spots around the arc with 1 minute on the clock. He said he received the invitation a few days ago.

“It will be fun for me to get out there,” Love said.

Is he confident in his chances of winning the event?

“I always like my chances in any competition, maybe except the slam dunk,” Love joked.

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