ADVERTISEMENT

Postgame: Adelman shakes up playing time

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • December 31, 2011 - 11:47 AM

It has been a long day and a late night after Friday's 103-101 loss to Miami at Target Center.

So...

Here's the game story from the game.

And the notebook from Friday night.

Here's a bunch of other stuff, this and that, from the game as well:

* The Wolves now are 0-3, by a total of nine points, and their club-record losing streak Friday reached 18, dating back to last year's season-ending 15-game losing streak.

I asked Rick Adelman before the game if he'd had a team that had lost 17 straight.

His answer: "I never have, no. I hadn't thought of it that way. I'm only counting the two."

* In just his third NBA game, Ricky Rubio delivered a 12-point, 12-assist, 6-rebound stat line -- the first Timberwolf to record those kind of numbers since Sam Cassell in 2004 -- and he commanded the game much of the end until he rushed in the final minutes, when the Wolves committed two crucial turnovers. (He had 5 of the Wolves' 25).

For a guy who supposedly can't shoot, he's shooting it pretty well. He made 4 of 7 field-goal attempts, including both of his 3-point attempts.

Most telling about his presence already: The Heat put LeBron on him near the end of the game and double- and even triple-teamed as the game progressed, trying without much success to get the ball out of his hands on pick-and-rolls.

Said Wade: "I knew he was good from the Olympics, but he's gotten even better. He's mastered looking you off and making the pass. The kid has something. He has that Steve Nash capability. They have a gem in him. He's going to be great for them."

Derrick Williams on Rubio: "He's great in his I.Q. and his court vision. I haven't seen anything like that. He can read it before it happens. And now he's making those contested shots."

* How long before Rick Adelman scraps last season's starting lineup and starts going with the guys he's been finishing games with?

You could say he benched four of five starters for the entire fourth quarter Friday, except...his starters, other than Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, really aren't his starters.

Beasley played fewer than six minutes in the second half and sat the entire fourth quarter while Adelman went with Love and four reserves (if you want to count Rubio as a reserve) down the stretch.

Adelman had promised guys like Wayne Ellington and Anthony Randolph would get their chance Friday now that the Wolves were down to just 10 healthy players.

And he fulfilled his promise: Ellington played nearly 31 minutes off the bench, the same time as Rubio. He had 11 points and 3 steals, but made just 1 of 6 threes and missed the shot that would have tied the game just before the final buzzer.

Randolph played nearly 25 minutes and was effective: 6 for 9 from the field, 14 points, 3 rebounds on a night when the Wolves bench outscored Miami's 57-21.

Williams played the entire fourth quarter and scored all of his 10 points in that quarter. He finally showed the shooting stroke he showed in the preseason, making 2 of 3 threes and even though he showed great range, he's still at his best when he's around the basket, getting tips and putbacks and using that live body.

Adelman on going so much with his "reserves": I don't know, the second half I kinda went with people who were playing well. It's an up-and-down game. The group that came in was more flexible, versatile. We had shooters all over the court and Ricky was finding people."

* Have you heard this troublesome issue before?: Turnovers.

The Wolves committed 25 this time, the same number they had Tuesday in Milwaukee.

The two that cost them most came after Rubio's 3-pointer gave the Wolves a 98-94 with 2:54 left.

When Chris Bosh missed a jumper at the other end, the Wolves had the ball and a chance to take at least a six-point lead.

But Rubio, who had been so poised all night, pushed the ball up the court and passed ahead to Williams on the right sideline. He stepped out of bounds as he received the pass.

Wade answered with a jumper to cut it to two points and then Rubio on the next possession made a rushed, bad pass, trying to hit Ellington free in the right corner. It was a wild pass, low and outside and went out of bounds.

Adelman: "We had a 3, 4 point lead, got a stop and we're trying to get a quick score. Those are young players. At that time of the game, we have to be sure to get a shot. It's going to happen, but I was really pleased with the way they competed."

* Another common theme you might remember from last year:

Missed free throws.

The Wolves made just 12 of 20 attempts and missed three of them in the final 1:13. Rubio made and missed one pair, Tolliver made and missed a pair of free throws twice, including two with 8.1 seconds left that tied the game at 101 but could have given the Wolves the lead.

Tolliver on it: "It is what it is. Being in those situations, it's tough. It's pressure filled. We've just got to learn, myself included. We all have to learn how to finish games."

Love's take: "I don't know what it is. The basketball gods aren't on our side, but they know we're working hard every day and eventually they'll give us the breaks. We feel great about the way we played. We just didn't get the W at the end of the night."

Adelman: "You put yourself on the line and I'll take that opportunity. We were aggressive getting to the boards. That's what you have to do.They'll make the shots."

* Now, about that 3-point play that tied the game with 1:08 left...

James tied it when he drove the lane and got the official's call as Anthony Tolliver was sliding over to draw the charge.

Some takes on the play:

Adelman: "You know I'm not going to talk about that. What am I going to say? You're talking to City Hall. There's nothing you can do about it. I thought we made a great play and didn't get rewarded. But we've got to play through that."

Tolliver: "I didn't really get to see the replay. As a defender, I felt I was there when he came that way. He's really good at changing direction, maybe it did look like a block. I can't change it. You learn from it and go forward."

James: "I saw a gap. I felt like he was moving when I made the play. I was able to cross right to left and once I heard the whistle, I just tried to get it on the rim to make a three-point play and tie the game."

* About the the lob play that won the game after Tolliver made, then missed a pair of free throws with 8 seconds left.

Rubio got rubbed off on screens that allowed Wade to circle from near the baseline, up past the foul line and came back down the lane as he broke free while Williams and Wayne Ellington scrambled to recover too late.

More takes:

James: "When I saw D-Wade go around the screen, I saw him open right away. But he fell. He tripped, kind of stumbled. When I threw it, I thought we had a clean layup, but then I saw Derrick Williams and those guys closing on it and I was thinking, `Oh, man, not another turnover.' But D-Wade able to snatch it and get the layup."

Wade: "He (coach Erik Spoelstra) called that play earlier and I wanted come back to it because I saw something as a player. He was fine with it and he scratched the play he was going to do. We ran it and luckily it worked out."

Williams: "When LeBron, D-Wade and James Jones on the court at the same time, the ball can go either way. I was on help side, thinking James Jones was going to come off the pick and he went baseline. I see the lob coming, so I try to stop (following Jones) and I think I tipped the ball at the end but I was still a little too late. At the same time, we went over the plays and what we thought they were going to run. We were right. We just weren't there at the right time."

Adelman: "That's a young team. We all talked about that, they're going to run that lob for Wade. We told all the big guys and whatever happens between the bench and out on the court, you lose communication or something."

* Wade on the Wolves: "They're a very talented team. One thing I see different from this year to last year is they're getting off the ball more and being more unselfish. If they continue to do that, they're going to put together a string of wins. They just have to stay confident. They're a young team and they have so much talent. They have a good coach and a good coaching staff. They have to stick with it. I'm glad we played them early because later they're going to be trouble. Timberwolves fans are going to have something to cheer about for a while."

And one other thing about Friday's game before I call it a late night:

The night's crowd of 19,356 is the second straight sellout this season. It's also the first time the 1991-92 season that the Wolves have sold out the first two games.

The Wolves will practice Saturday afternoon and play Dallas Sunday at 6 p.m., looking for that first victory.

 

© 2014 Star Tribune