Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Suns




Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves forward Kevin Love spent extra time working on his perimeter jump shooting after Saturday morning’s shootaround, taking turns with fellow power forward Derrick Williams receiving passes from player development coach Shawn Respert and heaving baseline 3-pointers.

One after another, the shots began to look a little more in sync. After several early attempts missed, hitting iron and bouncing out, the stroke started looking a little more fluid. More shots began to fall.

That’s what Love is hoping to do tonight against Phoenix and moving forward into 2013. He’s had a rough season so far, battling setbacks (broken hand, thumb, poked eye, illnesses) over the past two months. His shooting has taken a setback as a result—love is shooting a career low 35.5 percent from the field and just 22.5 percent from distance.

After shootaround at Target Center, Love said he’s starting to come around physically.

“[His shooting] definitely feels good, I’ll tell you that,” Love said. “It’s fun to actually have my body feel good out there. It has the last couple days. Like I said after every good game and every bad game, it’s just one game at a time. It’s all about being consistent in this league, and if my body starts feeling better and better, I’m going to play better. So it feels good to get work in.”

Love said he’s never had a significant injury like he did with his broken right shooting hand during the preseason, so that has factored in. When he broke his left hand, which acts as a guide during his jump shooting, his shot was not as affected.

“To have it with my right hand and to try and get that shooting touch back, its’ been a little bit of a struggle,” Love said. “Some days I’ll wake up feeling great, and other days my hand feels like stone. So it’s been a struggle, but I’m still getting back into it.”

He’s had his typical big-time statistical outbursts this year, including his regular season debut against Denver in which he scored 34 points and added 14 rebounds. He also put up 36 points and 13 boards against Cleveland on Dec. 7, and he scored 28 points against Oklahoma City on Dec. 20.

But there have also been uncharacteristic performances. Love finished 3-of-14 in Wednesday’s loss to Houston and scored seven points, his third game this year where he did not put up double digits. He’s shot below 25 percent from the field in four of his last six games.

Still, Love continues to work on those shots, and he is confident it will turn around. He said it’s frustrating missing shots he’s made his entire life, but stringing a couple consistent games in a row would go a long way. He said his teammates still want him to take the shots when he has a good look.

“Nobody wants me to hesitate,” he said. “They’re screaming at me if I don’t take shots. Taking the shots that are open for me, especially those around the rim, those are the ones that I’m always going to take.”

Quick Notes

  • Wolves guard Ricky Rubio said the Wolves’ biggest issue with closing out games has been communication on defense. As the Wolves begin to play more cohesively down the stretch, they’ll be able to close out more games. That was an issue against Houston on Wednesday, when James Harden split the defense with two late pick and rolls that iced the Rockets’ 87-84 win. “We’re practicing all the things we had to do because we have some issues, especially on defense we have to talk more as a team and play more together,” Rubio said.


  • Rubio said he continues to work on getting his body back in shape. His minutes were increased to 21 against Houston, and he said he felt good after playing those extra minutes. “I’m trying to get in shape as fast as possible,” he said. “But it’s hard because we don’t’ have a lot of practices. We have a lot of games, and we have to move forward. But I’ve been practicing the last couple days and I feel good.”



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