Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Pacers

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley exploded for 34 points off the bench in Monday’s win over Houston, using an efficient 10-of-14 shooting and perfect 12-for-12 night from the line to help solidify a 120-108 victory over the Rockets.

At this morning’s shootaround prior to tonight’s 7 p.m. home matchup with the Pacers, Beasley said he had been over-thinking on the court throughout the season. On Monday, he simply went out and played his game.

“I’ve just been over-thinking it, trying to do too much and it’s been coming back to haunt me,” Beasley said. “Try to do what I did the other night, just come out and play, get my team involved and just let it go.”

Beasley said he forced shots in past games, but on Monday he found ways to make plays happen both scoring and dishing to teammates. The result was his biggest point production of the year, tying a team record held by Rashad McCants and Wally Szczerbiak for most points off the bench in a game.

Forward Kevin Love said Beasley’s presence was key in Minnesota’s big night.

“Mike was rolling,” Love said. “Mike really got us in the flow of our offense.”

Beasley said whether he is a starter or a reserve makes no difference. He said he’ll do whichever the coaching staff decides.

“Whatever position, whatever role, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability,” Beasley said.

Barea, Milicic scheduled to return tonight

Wolves guard JJ Barea and center Darko Milicic are both scheduled to return tonight against the Pacers. Milicic has missed the past three games with an illness, and Barea has missed 10 of the past 11 games since suffering a sprained ankle on Jan. 10 against Chicago.

During the morning shootaround, Barea said he’s ready to get back.

“I’m going. I’ve been feeling good the last couple days, been working hard—100 percent—the last five days at practice,” he said. “Yesterday was a big test. We were playing 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 full court and everything was good. So we’re good to go tonight.”

Barea said the extra rest has been important to his recovery. He came back and played 14 minutes against the Pistons on Jan. 18 but has been inactive since.

“I think we were patient this time and I think it’s going to work,” he said.

Barea, who is averaging 10.8 points per game this season, said he’s looking forward to rejoining the team and helping them continue to improve.

“I’m just excited, man,” he said. “I’m excited the way the team is playing and moving forward. I think we just need a little more to keep it consistent. I’m just excited to be out there and help them win.”

Musky Mania at Target Center

Both Love and Beasley said they’re looking forward to changing up the uniforms tonight, as the Wolves will don the American Basketball Association’s Minnesota Muskies’ uniforms for the first time. The uniforms, which will be worn for six games this season as part of the team’s Hardwood Classic promotion, pay homage to the former ABA team that played in Bloomington during the 1967-68 season.

“It’s different—it’s always exciting to change it up,” Beasley said. “I’ve probably got some sneakers in the closet for tonight. But it’s just another game.”

Love joked he wouldn’t mind bringing the full ABA atmosphere back with the old red, white and blue basketball.

“I wouldn’t mind it,” Love said. “That would be a money ball—I don’t know if it counts for extra. But it would be nice to change up the ball, just as long as it doesn’t feel any different.”

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