Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Kings
Tonight’s game will pose a challenge for the Timberwolves. Any time a team subtracts a nightly bank of 25 points and nearly 14 rebounds from its lineup, adjustments need to be made.
But with Kevin Love serving the first of a two-game suspension tonight against Sacramento, Minnesota is tasked with finding the right combination to do just that. The Wolves, speaking at this morning’s shootaround at Target Center prior to tonight’s 7 p.m. tipoff, said they were up to the challenge.
“He does a lot; he’s a huge part of our success, but we’re all here for a reason,” forward Anthony Tolliver said. “All of us bigs, we show we can rebound as well. When he’s out there he definitely makes up for the mistakes and stuff we do just by his rebounding, but it’s just something we have to pick up the slack and get rebounds. Each of us have to pick up and get at least 2-3 more rebounds.”
Tolliver and teammate Derrick Williams look to be the beneficiaries of minutes in Love’s absence. Williams, who is averaging 18 minutes per game and has started twice at small forward during his rookie season, will likely get the start tonight in Love’s absence at power forward. He’s averaging 7.3 points per game this season.
Williams said it’s still to be seen how the team will respond to Love’s absence.
“We’re going to see tonight,” Williams said. “He’s a big part of our offense and defense. He gets 25 and 15 a night. It really does hurt us, but like myself and a few other guys out there it’s really going to challenge us to step up and really fill those numbers.”
Williams said potentially getting additional minutes in the next two games could really help his development as an NBA player.
“Just getting out there and learning through mistakes, and I think that’s what’s best for a rookie like myself, and Rubio as well, the first couple games just trying to get the hang of it,” Williams said. “Like I said, 30-35 minutes would really help my development and my confidence as well.”
Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins will be the biggest handful down low while battling for boards tonight. He’s averaging 11.6 rebounds a night and has 17 games this year where he pull down double digits. He’s had 19 or more rebounds in a game four times this year, including in each of the past two games against Golden State and New Orleans.
Veteran guard Luke Ridnour said the key is understanding everyone needs to step up.
“You’ve just got to come in and play hard, and everyone’s just got to do a little bit more,” Ridnour said. “But we’ve got a lot of guys who have been playing well this year waiting to play so we’ve got to step in and do it as a team.”
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