Practice Report: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea’s flagrant foul from Monday night’s altercation with Miami’s Ray Allen has been downgraded from a Level I to a Level II, the NBA informed the Wolves on Tuesday.

“It put the refs in a tough position,” Barea said. “They made a call last night, the NBA reviewed it, they changed it. So it’s all good now.”

While Barea was defending Allen, the two collided around the 3-point line with both sides providing contact. When Allen drove to the hoop, Barea got tangled and was whistled for a hard foul. The game was paused for several minutes while the officials watched a replay at the scores table and determined the severity of the call.

The call was initially deemed a Level II offense, but the league downgraded it today after review.

“The NBA did a good job of looking at it and making sure it wasn’t that bad,” Barea said. “It’s alright. Things happen in basketball when two teams are playing hard. It got a little out of control, but that was yesterday. It’s a new day.“

Barea took the incident in good humor, shaking it off quickly after the contest. He laughed with media on Tuesday, remarking that since he had shot 1-for-11 from the field up to that point, the officials did him a favor by ejecting him.

“I wasn’t that mad, the way I was shooting last night I was like, ‘Get me out of here,’” Barea joked. “They did me a favor. I had like 50 text messages and a million tweets after the game, so it was a fun night for me.”

Off Rhythm Against The Champs

The Wolves pulled within three points at one point in the fourth quarter against Miami, but after Barea’s ejection, things mostly went downhill for the home team. Part of it was the incident between Barea and Allen, but another component were the injuries to Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko that left Minnesota without two starters against the NBA Champions.

“We don’t have any rhythm to our game probably because of the injuries and everything else,” coach Rick Adelman said. “We’re playing different people, trying to run different things, defensively it’s different. We play Derrick [Williams] and DC [Dante Cunningham] out there, there isn’t a whole lot of rim protection. We try to find different ways to be competitive each game. [Miami] is the world champs, they’ve been together two years, and they play like it.”

Where you usually know what you’re getting from Miami—excellent nightly production from their “Big Three”—the Wolves have been largely erratic and unpredictable with a lineup that’s in constant upheaval.

“We have to develop game where we’re winning games and we create an attitude about how we’re going to play,” Adelman added. “I think that carries over to the other team and the officials. We’re struggling, we’re really struggling.”

Center Greg Stiemsma started the game for Minnesota, but he was later removed in favor of a smaller lineup featuring Williams and Cunningham down low.

“Once they take [Udonis] Haslem out, he never comes back and they play small,” Adelman said of Miami. “So I thought Derrick and DC were our best options there. In the second half, we got off to a tough start again. I felt that those two guys gave us more offensively and defensively because they can guard Haslem, they can guard [Chris] Bosh.

“It wasn’t so much Greg as the matchups that were out there. We need Greg, we need everybody to give us something. Last night we had two or three guys have decent games and the rest didn’t. We’re not going to win that way.”
Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law
The Wolves announced on Tuesday at the both center Nikola Pekovic and forward Andrei Kirilenko will miss the rest of the week’s games with their respective injuries and will be re-evaluated next week. Kirilenko has a left calf strain and Pekovic has an abdominal strain. Both will miss Wednesday against Washington, Saturday against Denver and Sunday against Dallas.