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Postgame: Starters struggle, shooting off in loss to Raptors

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • January 10, 2012 - 1:55 AM

Just a few quick hits from Monday's game in Toronto before an early flight home on Tuesday:

* So when does Adelman finally swap out the starting lineup?

Good question: He seems more adamant not to do so the more he is asked about it, but...Wes Johnson once again was basically no factor. Neither were Wayne Ellington or Darko Milicic really.

Those three combined to score 11 points on a night when the Raptors' starters outscored the Wolves' starters 75-37.

That means the Wolves' reserves outscored their Toronto counterparts 51-22, but once again the Wolves were fighting from behind early, down nine in the first quarter.

* If you were yapping at your television -- and through it to Wolves coach Rick Adelman -- in the fourth quarter tonight wondering why J.J. Barea wasn't in the game in the first six minutes...

Well, here's why: The team's athletic training staff set a 17-minute limit on Barea's playing time in his first game back after he missed the last four because of that strained hamstring.

He reached that limit midway through the fourth quarter. By then, he had scored 16 points in those 17 minutes, and 10 of those came in a 17-2 run that ended the third quarter and began the fourth and got the Wolves from 12 points behind in the third into a 80-77 lead with less than eight minutes left.

He left the game with it tied at 80 with six minutes left. The Wolves made one of eight shots the rest of the way -- they were 1 for 11 after they took that 3-point lead -- without Barea.

Even with Barea going 5 for 9, the Wolves shot just 33.8 percent -- their lowest of the season -- and Kevin Love went for 3-for-16.

Even though he reached yet another double-double, Love's 13-point, 14-rebound night didn't get him to that 20-point, 12-rebound threshold he reached in the season's first eight games.

* If you think Sunday's victory at Washington showed how well the ball moves without Michael Beasley, Monday's loss shows that without him (and with Barea out of the game) the Wolves really don't have anybody to whom they can turn to get his own shot.

* Before the game, I asked Adelman is he's considering moving Beasley to a sixth man role and just ask him to do what he does best and go out there and score.

He basically said he's been talking about that since the summer -- within the organization, not with us media guys publicly -- and indicated it could be in the plans as they continue to sort this team out.

You'll find some of that in the notebook from Monday's game, which also has comments from Adelman about Love's Sunday comments.. Read it here.

* Adelman said before the game that he decided after Friday's loss to Cleveland that he needs to get Derrick Williams more playing time. He played him more than 28 minutes Monday after he played 30-plus in Washington on Sunday.

Willilams didn't play every second with Ricky Rubio this time like he did on Sunday, but there's no question Adelman likes the the chemistry developing between Rubio and Williams and plans to keep them together more often than not.

If you're wondering why Adelman doesn't just insert Rubio and Williams into the starting lineup at point guard and small forward, well, for starters he wants to keep Williams at power forward, Love's main position.

I also get the impression he wants to keep Rubio and Williams in a faster group -- with one or both of the Anthonys and Barea if he's healthy -- that can push the ball. If you're thinking those two need to play more with Love, I think he thinks Love's better with more of a half-court group.

* Here's the game story from Monday's game. You'll find it here.

That's all from Toronto tonight.

The Wolves flew home right after the game and play Chicago on Tuesday night at Target Center, their third game in as many days.

Kent's got that game. I'm sure he'll blog a couple times -- if not more, knowing the big fella -- before and after.

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