Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Bucks | March 11, 2014
The Timberwolves have been realistic about their postseason situation for a couple weeks now, but on Tuesday after shootaround guard Ricky Rubio summed it up best.
“There’s almost no room [for error],” Rubio said. “We have to win almost every game, and it starts tonight.”
The Timberwolves are 1-2 on their current home stand and will try to climb to 32-31 on the season with a win tonight against the Bucks. Tipoff is set for 7 PM on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.
Minnesota saw Milwaukee in the preseason during a matchup in Sioux Falls, then played them on Dec. 28 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The Wolves won both times, but it is imperative that they get the clean sweep this evening at Target Center.
Milwaukee is 3-7 in their last 10, but for a team that is 13-50 overall that stretch marks progress. The Bucks made a lot of moves in the offseason in hopes it would cover up the growing pains their younger players would play through. That hasn’t worked out, particularly with the injuries to Larry Sanders and Carlos Delfino. But since Milwaukee made their trade with Charlotte 10 games ago—sending Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal to Charlotte for Jeff Adriens and Ramon Sessions—they’ve begun to show signs of progress.
“They’re playing with a lot of confidence,” forward Kevin Love said. “Also, more than anything, good things happen when you work and you play hard. They’ve been playing extremely hard.”
According to the Bucks’ game notes, since returning from the All-Star Break Milwaukee is scoring 12 more points per game than they were before the break. Part of that is because of a 130-point outburst against Philadelphia on Feb. 24. And the Bucks had only 16 games with 100-plus points through 52 games before All-Star Weekend, but they’ve had eight in their last 11.
What that means for the Timberwolves is Minnesota needs to first and foremost take care of their own intensity and game play, but they also need to take care of the basketball and make sure the Bucks don’t get rolling.
“They’re just going out there and playing,” coach Rick Adelman said. “That’s not a given. They’ve blown people out. They’ve put up a lot of points on the board. Another team that you look at the people coming off their bench, they’ve all played in the league. They’re all good players. We can’t, we’ve got to just go out and play. We can’t worry about, you know, what their record is because they’re certainly playing better now than they were earlier in the year.”