Postgame: Wolves whup Pacers in preseason opener
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- October 11, 2012 - 12:33 AM
A smattering of stuff from the Timberwolves' 84-70 victory over Indiana in their preseason opener tonight in Fargo:
* Brandon Roy played nearly 24 minutes and worked his way into the game, looking a bit like his old self in a third quarter when he scored eight points, including his team's first six after halftime. He scored getting to the basket and pulling up with the jumper off screens and survived a little first-half scare when he banged knees with an opponent and came up off the floor wincing in pain.
Afterward, he said he's done that in practice and it's good for him to experience such things during a real game so he knows he can survive it and keep playing.
* We got our first real look at new, improved, fitter Nikola Pekovic and he looked like he just plain wore big ol' Roy Hibbert out.
Hibbert went to the bench midway through the third quarter with his fifth foul and never returned.
Pekovic and Chase Budinger led the Wolves in scoring with 14 points each.
* We also got our first look at Alexey Shved and he didn't shoot like he's supposed to be able to do. In fact, he missed all four shots he took, but he showed he's going to be a playmaker from the shooting guard position, something they utterly lacked last season unless they played Luke Ridnour or JJ Barea there.
Shved had four assists and hooked up with Derrick Williams three times in succession alone in the first half.
"He can be that (playmaker)," Rick Adelman said. "That's why it's better to put him there (at shooting guard). It puts a lot of pressure on the other team. We have two guys who can handle the ball then. I thought Lexey did a good job of doing what we asked him defensively. He thought about what we were asking of him and he worked at it."
* Derrick Williams had nine points in fewer than nine minutes by halftime, then played just 4:27 in the second half and didn't score again after halftime.
When given a softball question and the chance to praise Williams' play, Adelman said afterward, "He did fine, he did fine."
So why the limited second-half playing time?
Probably because Williams attempted three three-pointers when Adelman has been urging him all summer and training camp to be aggressive getting to the basket.
* Adelman sent his two "energy guys" -- Lou Amundson and Dante Cunningham -- into the game for the final 7:33, after the outcome had long been decided.
It's already obvious, barring injuries, that Adelman's going to have trouble playing everybody because he'd prefer to go with a nine-man rotation.
* Andrei Kirilenko took four shots, made just one, scored only three points and played 27 minutes, and yet Adelman gushed about him afterward.
"He's a complement for everyone on our team," Adelman said. "You saw what he does. He gets his hands on balls. He gets on the floor. He passes the ball well. He's just a solid player. He's someone who really will help us defensively."
That's all for tonight from Fargo.
The Wolves flew home after tonight's game and will practice at Target Center tomorrow.
Kent Youngblood's got that practice, I'll pick the team up Friday in Indiana for the second of this stretch where they play three games in four nights.
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