Three games into a seven-game preseason schedule, the Timberwolves, through a combination of injury and circumstance, haven't yet had ample time to integrate a roster that could have as many as eight new faces on it on opening night.
Starters Andrei Kirilenko and Luke Ridnour have missed two of the first three preseason games. Kevin Love sat out Saturday's 82-75 victory over Chicago at Target Center after he slept wrong on his arm the night before. And coach Rick Adelman chose to play his starters just a quarter in Friday's loss at Indianapolis.
The clock's ticking. Is time getting short for players to develop court relationships with each other?
"Four games left is plenty," said shooting guard Brandon Roy, whose team plays Israeli team Maccabi Bazan Haifa on Tuesday at Target Center. "But you do want to start getting your rhythm. But again, that's the NBA: Some nights some guys may not play, so you have to be ready to step in. We've got some games to get guys healthy.
"The good thing is we don't have major injuries right now, just some minor nicks. If you have a chance to rest a guy like Kevin or A.K. at this time of year, you do it."
Roy played nearly 27 minutes -- a preseason high -- on Saturday and Adelman pondered putting him back in to close the game for a first time. He decided against it because the group already on the floor was playing well, but said he'll do that in the final four games to get Roy accustomed to the playing time and role.
"Rick's a veteran at this, it's nothing he hasn't dealt with before," reserve forward Lou Amundson said. "There's still enough time. We have seven days from our last preseason game to the first [regular season] home game. That will be good to get everybody rested and healthy."Persistent Pek
Nikola Pekovic's 17 rebounds Saturday were the most by a Timberwolf in a preseason game since Al Jefferson grabbed that many in 2007. He also scored 16 points and played nearly 39 minutes after he played just the first quarter Friday.
"I just feel good, I just feel good about everything," Pekovic said. "I feel good on the court. Coach saw that and he kept me in."Can't shoot straight
Pekovic and Roy combined to shoot 21 free throws Saturday, but they missed nearly half of them. Pekovic went 6-for-11, Roy 6-for-10.
"Yeah, it's bad," Pekovic said. "It's got to get better."
Said Roy: "I can't say nothing to him. I missed one less than he did. Me and Pek, we'll clean it up."Weighing in on DWill
Adelman so far has alternated playing Derrick Williams at power forward one night, at small forward the next.
So it's probably a good thing that Williams, after losing nearly 20 pounds this summer so he could better play small forward, has moderated his weight somewhere suitable between the two positions. He played last season in the 240s, approached 230 this summer and now is in the high 230s.
"I'm pretty satisfied where I'm at," he said. "Not too light, not 230 or 225 where I can't post up, and not 245 or 250. Where I'm at now is probably perfect for me."He's back
Ridnour made his preseason debut Saturday after missing the first two games because of back stiffness and back spasms.
He started at point guard, played 22 minutes and wrapped his back in a heat pack when he wasn't playing and in an ice pack after the game.
"A little rusty," he said, "but I felt all right."
With Ridnour back and J.J. Barea backing him up, fellow point guard Will Conroy did not play Saturday after he played 18 and 30 minutes in the first two games when Ridnour was out.Roster moves
The Wolves cut training camp invitees Phil Jones and Seth Tarver after Saturday's game to trim their roster to 18 players. Neither player appeared in a preseason game. They need to be down to at least 15 players by their Nov. 2 season opener against Sacramento.