INDIANAPOLIS - Two nights after playing only 13 minutes in North Dakota, Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams started Friday's 96-91 loss at Indiana and played himself to exhaustion on a night when Andrei Kirilenko was given the night off and none of the other four starters played much beyond the first quarter.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman wanted to save Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic for Saturday night's game against Chicago before a Target Center home crowd, so he called upon Williams for a 25-point, 38-minute performance that pleased him.
"I thought he played pretty good," Adelman said of the No. 2 overall pick in last year's NBA draft. "What I liked about him was he made two or three efforts. He'd go to the basket, they'd bother him and he'd go right up and get it. That's good to see. ... If he plays that hard all the time at both ends, that's a completely different circumstance for him."
Williams played less than five minutes in the second half of Wednesday's preseason opener against the Pacers in Fargo, N.D. He attempted three three-pointers that night and looked for his outside shot more than he attacked the basket. Adelman said that although he wants to see a better balance than that, it wasn't the reason Williams played little more than 13 minutes.
Instead, Adelman said he wanted to get Love, Lou Amundson and Dante Cunningham playing time.
On Friday, Williams got his chance, persevering through a difficult matchup at small forward against Paul George by scoring 15 points in the second half. The Wolves had a 12-point lead before halftime, but they were overcome by a 24-5 Pacers run when the visitors relied solely on their reserves.
"I'm glad Coach liked that," Williams said. "I have to continue to give that second effort, that third effort throughout the whole season. If that's what I got to do to get on the court, I'm going to keep doing it."
A resting Roy
Roy played the game's first eight minutes and then sat down for the night so he could rest his knees for Saturday's game. He scored six points on 2-for-3 shooting and impressed Indiana coach Frank Vogel with his first two games back in the NBA.
"He creates his own shot as well as anybody; that's a valuable thing to have on your roster," Vogel said. "You add him and Kirilenko to this team, and they're pretty scary."
Ricky hits the road
Injured Ricky Rubio accompanied the team to Indianapolis. Adelman prefers Rubio be around the team as much as the doctors will allow him to rehab on the road, even though Adelman had to intervene when Rubio wanted to join his teammates for a half-court shooting contest during Friday's morning shootaround.
"I could just see the headlines, 'Ricky Rubio Hurt Shooting Half-Court Shot for Money,'" Adelman said. "I said, 'Don't think that's a good idea.' I don't want that on me."
• Adelman said the team's athletic training staff recommended Kirilenko rest his legs Friday. Kirilenko said he's fine physically and said the decision was made simply to give an 11-year NBA vet the night off.
• Pacers starters Danny Granger and George Hill again did not play Friday, but David West returned after missing Wednesday's game. Center Roy Hibbert also was rested after Pekovic wore him out in Fargo. Wolves guard Luke Ridnour went to Indianapolis but didn't feel ready to play Friday and hopes to play Saturday.
• Amundson returned Friday to Indianapolis, where he played last season. "It was weird. I had to tell myself not to pass it to the wrong team if I got the ball," he said about playing his former mates back-to-back to start the preseason.
• The Wolves trailed by 12 with six minutes left but pulled within three in the final 2:18 with camp invitees Jermaine Taylor and Chris Johnson on the floor. "We have to evaluate our team as we go," Adelman said. "The more we give the guys a chance to show what they can do, the more we can make the correct decisions."