Injuries hurting Wolves defense more than offense

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 12, 2014 - 1:05 AM

With two top scorers out, the suspect Wolves’ defense has faltered even more than usual .

The first question when looking at the Wolves’ recent rash of injuries was: How will the Wolves make up for the points lost while center Nikola Pekovic and guard Kevin Martin recover from injuries?

But a better question is this: Can you believe how the loss of those two has hurt the team’s defense?

Pekovic is a physical presence, though he’s not good at protecting the rim on defense. And Martin always has been known more for his offense. Still, the loss of those two has led to a drop in offensive efficiency and, as a result, put more strain on an already beleaguered defense.

“Well, defense has been a concern of ours from Day 1,” said Terry Porter, who was once again filling in for Rick Adelman, who was away from the team for a second consecutive day for personal reasons. Adelman is expected to be back for Wednesday’s game with Denver at Target Center. “When you lose 40 points [from your lineup], and you’re shorthanded, it becomes a tough task.”

During their season-high four-game losing streak, the Wolves have missed more shots and have at times turned the ball over in bunches, both stressing Minnesota’s transition defense.

During that streak Wolves opponents have averaged 107 points per game, shot 48.2 percent, 40.2 percent from three-point range and scored 17.5 points on the break. Even for a Wolves team that has been defensively challenged this season, those are steps backward.

“It’s tough, like [Monday] night for me getting up and down was tough because I was dragging this thing,” Kevin Love said, indicating his sore leg. “It’s our transition defense, our whole team, myself included. But the crazy thing to me, we’ve been in striking distance or ahead going into the fourth quarter and we just need to find a way to accumulate points and get stops.”

The Wolves did neither Monday in Houston’s 25-11 fourth quarter, one that started with an 11-0 Rockets run fueled by the Wolves going 0-for-9 and turning the ball over four times.

For the game, Houston hit 11 three-pointers and scored 52 points in the paint, 26 on the fast break.

The Wolves will be without Pekovic (bursitis in right ankle) and Martin (broken left thumb) once again Wednesday against Denver, the team’s last game before a weeklong All-Star Game break. That doesn’t give the team long to figure out how to improve the defense.

“We’ve been struggling,” Corey Brewer said. “But it’s tough when you don’t have your core [players], when you’re without a bunch of your guys. … It’s a struggle. Guys are trying to fit in, do different things. But for us it’s just about getting better.”

A loss Wednesday would give the Wolves their first five-game losing streak since a six-game streak in late February and early March of last season. A victory would give the team a better mind-set heading into the break. The Wolves are expected to get healthier down the stretch. Pekovic is expected to be available shortly after the break.

“You always want to go into an All-Star break feeling confident,” Porter said. “They definitely need [the break] to regroup, give their bodies a chance to rest and come back fresh.’’



 

  • related content

  • Video: Rand: From all-in to all out of patience with Wolves

    Tuesday February 11, 2014

    A season of promise has descended into disappointment again

  • Adelman misses practice, still expected to coach Wednesday

    Tuesday February 11, 2014

    The team has not disclosed why coach Rick Adelman is away, but Adelman did miss 11 games last season tending to his ailing wife, Mary Kay.

  • Gameday preview: Denver at Wolves

    Tuesday February 11, 2014

    wolves gameday7 P.M. VS. denver • target center • fsn, 830-AMPreview: The Wolves, still without starters Kevin Martin and Nikola...

  • The Rockets’ James Harden was fouled by Corey Brewer as Kevin Love closed in during the second half Monday. The Rockets outscored the Wolves 25-11 in the fourth quarter of the 107-89 victory.

  • Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, puts up a shot against Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) ORG XMIT: WIJP104

  • Nikola Pekovic’s presence might be missed even more on the defensive end because the Wolves don’t have anyone with his bulk.

  • wolves vs. denver

    7 p.m. today • Target Center TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close