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Wolves notes: Love and teammates mend fences, try to move forward

  • Article by: Kent Youngblood
  • Star Tribune
  • January 11, 2014 - 8:45 AM

Wednesday morning Kevin Love insisted the Wolves were on the same page — in a manner that suggested he very much wanted to turn that page and get on with things.

So Love was rather taciturn after the team’s shootaround. Surrounded by media, Love tried hard not to talk about a situation that arose out of his own postgame comments Wednesday. After another late-game collapse against Phoenix, Love called out teammates J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham for not leaving the bench to join their teammates during timeouts down the stretch.

Friday, Love said, the team’s chemistry was good.

“We’ve been on the same page,” he said. “Everything that happened is now internal.

“We’ve moved on from it.’’

Love’s comments revived national speculation about Love’s relationship with the Wolves organization and his future within it. He was hailed as a team leader by some, including Barea himself Friday. “He’s an All-Star on this team, so he’s got to be the leader,” Barea said. “He’s got to be a voice.”

But Barea would have preferred to hear that voice behind the scenes. “I wish Kevin would’ve just come up to me, face to face, man to man, and said it,” Barea said. “But it’s no big deal. We’re over it. We’ve got to play as a team and stay together as a team. So we’re done with that.’’

Coach Rick Adelman said in his pregame interview he feels the same way, suggesting Love find a better way to express that leadership. “At this stage and age, you have to figure out how to say it,” Adelman said. “Because it’s going to be there forever. We dealt with it [Thursday], talked about it. I don’t think there is any reason to talk about it tonight.”

That said, Barea admitted he was unhappy when pulled from the game earlier in the fourth quarter than usual and went to the end of the bench to cool off. “I think it looks a little bad that we were at the end of the bench,” he said. “But it’s something that we’ve got to get better at. I think it won’t happen again.”

Love, meanwhile, acknowledged the frustration of so many close losses but said there was no locker room problem. “We just need to continue to be ourselves,” he said. “We all like each other. And we had a great shootaround today.’’

And so the team moves forward. Love said he knew he was a team leader but said he wasn’t the only one. He said the season was still young enough that preseason goals — including a playoff berth — were still in reach. And that starts, he said, with winning games like the one Wednesday, which dropped the Wolves to 0-10 in games decided by four points or fewer.

“We just need to start trusting each other,’’ he said about closing out games, “start getting in different pick-and-roll situations, getting into different looks. Just run our offense.”

Adelman, meanwhile, has to figure out a rotation now that his lineup is fully healthy. It’s a task that will take some time, and is bound to ruffle some feathers going forward among players competing for minutes. “You have to be a professional about it,” Cunningham said. “And understand Coach is doing his best.”

Etc.

 Chase Budinger will remain on an 18-minute limit for at least the next two weeks as he returns from knee surgery. He said his knee emerged from his season debut Wednesday without any pain.

• Shabazz Muhammad was named to the 2014 NBADLeague.com All-Showcase team, after scoring 46 points with 18 rebounds in two games.

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