Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Magic

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate


As the Timberwolves prepare to host the Magic tonight, the energy from a historic comeback in Brooklyn is still surrounding the team.

“It was awesome, man, that’s why you play basketball,” J.J. Barea said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “That was great, I think it made our team better; we had some fun in the locker room after the game. It was fun to be a part of that.”

All of the players who spoke emphasized that they need to play that effectively early on games, not just in the fourth quarter.

“We have to grind it out, play with that effort,” Barea added. “We waited until the fourth quarter for that…but if we play that way from the beginning—especially at home—we will be great.”

Andrei Kirilenko stressed an old piece of advice that he has believed in for years.

“I think the third and fourth quarters we played the game how it was supposed to be played,” Kirilenko said. “We weren’t worried about the score, just our own game and how we execute our offense and help each other on defense. If we stay with that kind of game, we’ll always be successful. We have good stretches, and we need to focus on them.”

Barea and His Playing Style

Despite receiving a warning from the league on their new anti-flopping policy, Barea is not concerned with continuing to play in his unique style.

“When I am playing, I don’t think about it,” Barea said. “I think about winning, playing good and helping my teammates.

“I talked to DK [David Kahn], and he is handling that, so I am staying away from it as much as I can. I am going to play the same way—I don’t worry about that. I am doing whatever it takes to help this team win.”

Friends from Montenegro

Nikola Vučević, a forward playing for Orlando, shares the same home country as Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic: Montenegro. Pekovic said today that he has spoken with Vučević many times about adjusting to the NBA and his transition.

“I am maybe playing more of the five, he is more face-up, trying to shoot outside,” Pekovic remarked on the differences between the two on the court. “I am more inside. He is doing a good job; when he came to the league, we were talking a lot. In Philadelphia he didn’t get a chance to play much, now in Orlando he’s doing a great job.”

When asked by media if he and Vučević were celebrities in Montenegro, Pekovic smiled.

“People know us… but we are small country, 600,000 people,” Pekovic said. “It’s not difficult to get to know somebody.”

Quick Hits

  • Barea on the concussion tests he had to pass: “They give you cards. You have to pass a test, memorize some words, count numbers backwards… a little bit of everything.”

  • Kirilenko on the Timberwolves’ rotation: “I think both our units are playing significant roles, it doesn’t matter if you are starting or not. There’s a lot of confidence.”

  • Barea, on his fearless playing style that gave him a concussion in Toronto: “Sometimes it happens. I like to do that, that’s how I got here. That’s what made my career. It’s hard to get away from it.”

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at .