Another day, another Oleksiy Pecherov adventure.
The Ukranian center can't seem to stay on Kurt Rambis' good side. Even with things seem to be going well, he finds a way to annoy his coach.
Take Wednesday's 107-101 loss to the Warriors. With Ryan Hollins at home, stricken with a respiratory infection, Pecherov came off the bench in the first quarter, his first action in a week. He played seven first-half minutes, and was mostly effective, grabbing four rebounds, getting to the foul line, scoring a put-back.
"I thought he did a pretty good job in the first half," Rambis said, "so I wanted to reward him with some time" in the second.
So much for the reward. Pecherov checked in late in the third quarter, just in time to watch Monta Ellis drive to the basket for a layup. Then he was out of position on the next Warriors' possession, allowing Corey Maggette to score a tip-in. Rambis called time, and just couldn't control himself -- he did a little impromptu (and loud) coaching as Pecherov walked to the huddle, emphatically pointing out where Pecherov should have been.
The 7-footer was out of the game moments later, and never got in again. Did he seem a little lost? Yes, Rambis agreed. But "I wish he was the only one."
A few other leftovers from a disappointing game:
-- Alando Tucker was in uniform for the first time as a Timberwolf, taking Hollins' spot on the active roster. But the veteran guard, who hasn't played since Dec. 21 while with the Suns, never got into the game.
-- Corey Brewer played a strong game, scoring 19 points before fouling out in the final five minutes. Brewer played a key role in the Wolves' second-half comeback, twice driving to the basket, twisting his body sideways, and drawing a foul as he made a layup. He also had another drive to the basket for a dunk. Of course, Brewer's night was marred by the fact that Golden State's backcourt had little trouble scoring; the starters combined for 36 points, 10 assists and seven steals.
-- Al Jefferson sat in front of his locker for awhile after the game, clearly troubled by his team's repeated failures in the first quarter. "That's the thing, we show it too late. We've got to show it from the beginning," Jefferson said. "I really don't know why we start a game like that. Many times this year, we did ourselves a hole in the first five minutes. It don't help us. We have proven that many times."
He got fired up during the Wolves' 13-0 third quarter run, twice pumping his fist after scoring inside. Was that him letting off the frustration about his team's bad start? Not really, he said. "Ii don't know what I'm doing when I'm hyped," he said. "When you get that feeling and you get the crowd behind you -- I might start breakdancing next time, you never know."
-- The Warriors rank second in the NBA in scoring, a fact that clearly concerned Rambis. How do you slow down the Warriors? "Turnovers," Rambis said. "You can't turn the basketball over. They scored 47 points off turnovers in our last ballgame."
It didn't take long for the Wolves to demonstrate that Rambis' message hadn't exactly sunk in. Kevin Love threw a pass that was picked off by Curry less than a minute into the game, setting the tone for one of the uglier halves of basketball the Wolves have played lately. By the time the teams went to the locker room for halftime, Minnesota had made 14 errors with the ball, leading to 19 Golden State points. No, it wasn't exactly a 47-point pace, but considering the Warriors had committed only four turnovers of their own, leading to just four Minnesota points, they were just as damaging.
-- PHIL MILLER
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