Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Bobcats | Jan. 10, 2014

Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Bobcats | Jan. 10, 2014

Timberwolves vs. Bobcats | 7:00 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

You can shoot around as much as you want. You can run on a treadmill. You can bike 20 miles. But being in “basketball shape” is a whole different animal. Different muscles are used on different plays and your body goes through a variety of motions.

Wolves wing Chase Budinger isn’t unfamiliar with these motions, but after his first game of the season on Wednesday, Budinger said he was a bit sore the next morning.

“A little bit after the game and then the next morning…” Budinger said during Friday morning’s shootaround session at the LifeTime Fitness Training Facilities. “(My) hip flexor, my wrist was a little sore from I don’t know (what).”

The Wolves will be easing Budinger back into the rotation and the wing noted that he will have a minute restriction on him for the next two weeks. Those orders came from the famous Dr. James Andrews. After those two weeks are up, he will revisit the injury and hopefully the minute limit will be pushed up.

“His biggest thing is he doesn’t want me to be playing past fatigue,” Budinger said.

Budinger played just 10 minutes and 51 seconds in Wednesday’s loss, but did score six points while shooting 2-of-3 from the field.

“I felt pretty good (on Wednesday night),” Budinger said. “Especially the knee. No swelling, not too much soreness.”

With the return of Budinger and big man Ronny Turiaf, the team’s bench looks like it is poised to be a deep one. We knew going into the season that J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham would contribute. The question marks surrounded players like Alexey Shved and Robbie Hummel. Both players have gone through their ups and downs, but have been playing better as of late. Having Budinger and Turiaf playing big minutes will not only give the Wolves some depth, but will also take some minutes away from other bench players. Something Barea doesn’t see as a problem at all.

“Oh, that’s coach’s. That’s trouble for coach,” Barea said. “It’s a good thing that everybody’s healthy, but then coach’s gotta know how to put players in… The second unit is great, the second unit, we’ve got more players I think that can be out there for a longer period of minutes.”

Losing Close Games Is Frustrating

After Wednesday’s 104-103 home loss to the Phoenix Suns, there was some frustration in the team’s locker room. That’s understandable as the team is now 0-10 in game decided by four or less points.

The team is still in the thick of things in the West with a 17-18 overall record, but sooner or later, the Wolves need to close out big games.

“Yeah, we just need to start trusting each other,” said Wolves forward Kevin Love. “Start, you know, getting in different pick and roll situations. Getting different looks and just smarter offense. I feel like we got a good shot late game there (on Wednesday), but we just didn’t convert. Hopefully tonight we’ll turn it around.”

Both Love and Barea said the team is on the same page right now and has been all season long. Losing close games like that will take its toll on the team. Winning, though, has been known to cure most situations.

“Everything is better if you win,” Barea said. So if we win games coming up everything’s going to be better.”

Quick Hits

  • Al Jefferson, who played in Minnesota from 2007 to 2010, will be back in town tonight as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats. Jefferson has been solid this season, averaging 17 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He worked a lot with Love during his early years and although Love wasn’t the player he was now, Jefferson said at shootaround that he’s not surprised with Love’s development.

    “Oh yeah, I knew the sky’s the limit with him,” Jefferson said. “Just with the talent and how hungry he was. How much better he was getting. He wanted to learn. He wanted to get better. I just knew that he had a chance to do whatever he wanted to do in this league.”

  • Another former Timberwolves forward will be in town as well. Anthony Tolliver played for the Wolves from 2010 to 2012. He’s glad to be back – even if it’s only for a night.

    “Yeah, whenever I come in here it’s always fun to see everybody,” Tolliver said. “And it seems like everyone who was here when I was here is still here. A lot of great guys that I met and a lot of great friendships.”

  • After Wednesday night’s late game, tonight’s game is scheduled back to the normal start of 7 p.m. for home games. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.