To move up, Wolves must be able to clamp down

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 30, 2012 - 9:51 AM

Team defense has been emphasized in the preseason, but now the real games begin.

The Timberwolves ended the preseason ranked first defensively in the NBA in fewest points and lowest field-goal percentage allowed.

Yep, you read that right.

The same franchise that allowed 152 points in a game three seasons ago and surrendered 120 or more points a dozen times two seasons ago allowed opponents 80.9 points and a 38.3 shooting percentage in seven preseason games.

"I understand the preseason is a little different from the [regular] season and definitely different from the playoffs," Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "But I think it's a good start. We all know great offense makes you excited, but only defense can win you the game."

The Wolves limited Detroit and Milwaukee to fewer than 20 points in four of the preseason's final eight quarters with a defense that lacks a classic individual shutdown defender but has compensated for it so far -- and it's way early -- with scheme and attention to detail.

"I always heard Coach likes to work on offense early in camp, but this year we really got after it on defense the first four days," guard Brandon Roy said. "We put a lot of work into it."

Wolves coach Rick Adelman realizes it's only seven preseason games, but ...

"I think we can be pretty good if we're picking up what the other team is trying to do and if we have each other's back," Adelman said. "It's a matter of trust, really. We're going to try to make them go to a different option rather than go to their strengths."

Adelman looks back to last season and sees a team that defended well until Ricky Rubio went down because of a knee injury and Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic each were lost for part of the season's final six weeks.

"The last 20 games last year, we weren't very good," Adelman said. "We're trying to be better. We're trying to be more consistent. That's what we've been talking about since Day 1."

And the talk has been about "team" defense, the concept that they can compensate for that lack of great individual defenders by helping each other out when a mistake is made and the defense is about to break down.

"There are five of us out there, we're all looking to help each other," forward Dante Cunningham said. "There's not one guy out there that necessarily locks down someone per se, but we have a lot of guys who are going to give help and make sure our team looks great defensively.

"If you look at the makeup of our team, we've got such energy guys, such athletic guys all the way around, that defense kind of is second nature to us."

Adelman is eighth in NBA career victories with 971, a number usually credited to his offensive mind rather than his attention to defense.

"I think sometimes he may get a little overlooked because he really is a good offensive coach and his teams do a great job of running plays," Roy said. "But I played against his teams in Houston and they were all good defensively. You had to play against Ron [Artest] and Shane Battier. Those guys are defensive-minded. I always felt those were good defensive teams."

Adelman knows that leading the league in two prominent preseason defensive categories means nothing come Friday night's season opener against Sacramento at Target Center.

"Obviously when you get to the regular season, things will be harder," he said. "But I think it's a good learning tool for us. Hopefully players will understand that's how we're going to win, defending consistently night after night. I think we've done that so far. We've been able to stay consistent and I'd rather start there and have some basis to build on.

"That's going to be part of our identity. We have to win defensively. We have to be able to guard people."

Roy bangs knee

Roy was limited in practice on Monday after banging knees with a teammate. Adelman said Roy was held out from most of practice as a precaution and he said he expected Roy to participate fully when the team scrimmages hard on Tuesday.

  • WOLVES Season opener: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Sacramento • Target Center • TV: Ch. 29 (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 80 2nd Half 4:25
Hawaii 68
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close