The theme following the Timberwolves' morning shoot today was simple: Take care of the ball.
Both starting point guard Ricky Rubio and backup J.J. Barea spent a good bit of time talking about the turnover situation, which has been the driving force behind the team's season-long four-game losing streak.
Kent Youngblood here. I'll be covering the game tonight.
What's interesting is that the two guards -- who combined for 12 turnovers in Monday's loss in Orlando - -attributed their problems to different things. Although they have one thing in common: They're both making mistakes while trying to do too much.
Rubio talked about making the easy pass rather than trying to thread a difficult one through a bunch of defenders. "We have to control the ball," he said. "We have to run the right play. Sometimes we just run the play but we don't care about the ball."
Rubio said he hasn't' seen a big difference in the way teams have defended him, though he did admit that opponents are doing more to make it harder for him to pass out of the pick and roll. "But there are other ways to (do it). I have to attack more the rim," he said"
Indeed, Rubio said becoming less aggressive isn't the answer. He just needs to stay aggressive without being reckless or trying to do too much. "You have to take care of the ball," he said. "But you don't have to lose what we are doing good. When we're attacking, when we are attacking the rim we're doing a good job. We just have to take care of lazy passes."
Barea, meanwhile, might need to attack the rim less. Sometimes it's incredible how Barea is able to penetrate the lane and get a shot up. But coach Rick Adelman said it yesterday that Barea should do a bit less of it, and Barea agreed. .
"No question," he said. "I haven't shot a mid-range shot yet," he said. "Or at least in a while. I kinda forgot about it. No floaters yet. I have to get back to that. My three-pointer is starting to go in, I'm getting to the hoop. Now I have to mix it up."
In other news:
--Shooting guard Martell Webster admitted today he isn't the same player he was coming into the league with Portland in 2005. The reason, of course, is two lower back surgeries in two years. "I have to work with what I have," Webster said. "I'm very blessed to be playing. I wake up with a smile on my face every morning."
That said, the question is whether he will return to the player he once was. Frankly, he doesn't know. "I'm working with it, trying to figure out different ways to get my body going," he said. "Because I'm at the point how where I can't wake up and just jump out of the bed and go play 48 minutes."
Webster has to get to the arena hours before game time to get treatment, get prep work in to loosen up his back. "It will eventually start to get better, but right now it's that tedious (time) when you have to keep grinding and going through it.''
At this point Webster said he's lacking a lot of flexibility and range of motion in his back.
--Count Barea among Jeremy Lin's biggest fans. And why not? Barea knows what it's like to be undrafted out of college but ultimately make it in the NBA. "I'm happy for him," Barea said. "He deserves it. Nobody game him a chance, but now he's gotten a chance and he's proven himself."