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Postgame: Porter will coach team in Milwaukee

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • December 27, 2011 - 2:47 AM

First things first after Monday's season-opening 104-100 loss to Oklahoma City at the standing-room only Target Center:

* Rick Adelman will not coach Tuesday night's game in Milwaukee so he can attend his mother-in-law's funeral, the team announced after the game.

Top assistant Terry Porter will coach the team instead back in the city where he was a head coach for the first time, from 2003 to 2005.

* Ricky Rubio's 6-point, 6-assist, 5-rebound stat line isn't why he blew up on Twitter tonight.

Rather, it was those ESPN highlights that caused the masses to start those Steve Nash comparisons and inspired one LeBron James to tweet, "Rubio can pass that rock!"

Well, yes, he can.

You saw that Monday night when he pushed the ball on the break and every turn and already showed him to be something of a master of the bounce pass on a full run.

After just one real game, the bandwagon is already getting a little crowded.

Looking more like the guy who amazed at his DKV Joventut team rather than the guy who looked so stifled with Regal Barcelona, Rubio found Derrick Williams a couple times (including one that gave Nick Colllison a close shave) and Anthony Randolph another time with some fancy passing.

"He was good," Adelman said. "He really sees the floor obviously, everybody sees that. He competes at both ends of the court. We just have to give him a little bit of time to work his way in. It is going to be an up and down situation for him. All rookies face that. He seems to have an awful lot of hype going his way, but I don't see him buying in that. I just see him as a young man who really wants to learn, really wants to do well and he's just going to get better.

"He is really good in teh open court and that is why our guys have to learn they can't walk up the court or jog. They have to run up the court every time."

* Do the Wolves really want Michael Beasley shooting 27 times?

Yes, he led them in scoring with 24 points, but he needed those 27 shots to get there.

Included was the one that could have tied the game at 102 with three seconds left.

That's when Rubio flung a pass to Beasley on the left wing and Beasley went hard to the basket -- afterward, he second-guessed himself and said he probably should have shot the three -- but missed and didn't get the foul call he sought when tried to stick a little shot over converging Kendrick Perkins and missed.

There was contact, but Perkins went straight up his arms and avoided the foul, which is the way Adelman said officials are calling those kinds of plays now.

"He made the right play," Adelman said of Beasley. "He went to the basket agressively trying to get the foul. He didn't get the call. It's the thing this team has got to learn. I really like a lot of pieces that we have, but we have to learn to win these ball games in the fourth quarter.

I asked Adelman if he wants Beasley shooting 27 times (made 11 of 'em), and he said he'd have to look at the game footage first. He also said Beasley wasn't the only one who forced shots in the offense.

* Rubio and J.J. Barea played the entire fourth quarter. So did Derrick Williams when Adelman went to that small frontcourt and played Williams, Beasley and Love for the final six-plus minutes.

Both those backcourt and frontcourt combinations create mismatch problems, both pro and con.

In the fourth quarter, though, it looked like those mismatches played in the Wolves' favor: The Thunder struggled to contain Rubio and Barea on pick and rolls and Barea in 27 minutes showed he's a tough little guy, just like he did for the Mavericks last season.

That frontcourt was effective even though the three combined to shoot 1-for-10 on threes on a night when the Wolves probably win if they do just a bit better than 3-for-22 as a team.

* Adelman praised center Darko Milicic before the game and he showed why even though he played just under 20 minutes a game. He was an efficient 4-for-6 for 12 points from the field, but more importantly, played with some actual fire, flattening Perkins in the first quarter and then glowering at him when the game turned physical almost from the opening tip.

* It didn't take long for tweeps on Twitter to call for the Wolves to trade both Wes Johnson and Luke Ridnour after Monday's game.

Nothing like some patience, huh?

Neither played in the fourth quarter.

It's obvious Ridnour's starting job isn't long for this world, just a matter of when Adelman thinks Rubio has paid his dues and is ready to take over that job.

The fact that Rubio played the final 15 minutes tonight already shows into whose hands Adelman wants to place the ball.

Johnson again looked like that one-dimensional 3-point shooter he was most of the time last year, but it's just one game, sports fans.

Let's give this some time and let it play out.

* This Thunder team is pretty dang good. Start with Kevin Durant (33 points and a lovely spining move and scoop shot around Milicic) and Russell Westbrook, who dueled with Rubio down the stretch and finished with 28, 6 and 6. But don't forget James Harden off the bench or the physical tag team of Perkins and Serge Ibaka that helped hold Love to "just" 22 and 12.

That's enough for tonight. Got a morning to Milwaukee.

Here's the game story from Monday's game.

And tonight's notebook.

Blog at you Tuesday.
 

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