Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Wolves stress defense at practice

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves practice news Updated: April 6, 2012 - 3:26 PM

  After giving the guys a day off from practice, Wolves coach Rick Adelman had the team work hard on defense during practice Friday. Then the team -- minus a few players -- hopped a plane to New Orleans, where the team hopes to win in April for the first time since 2009.

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I covered practice today, with Jerry winging his way to the Big Easy.

Defense was the buzzword today, after the way the Wolves defense melted down against Golden State. But before getting into that, I thought I'd share a little humor provided by Kevin Love.

Wolves Adelman was talking with the media following practice when Love walked up, smiled and put his arm around his coach, doing his best Dwight Howard impersonation. "What are we worried about tonight coach?" he said. "What are we worried about?"

Adelman, in best deadpan fashion, looked up and said, "You."

OK. Now back to the Wolves defense.

Fact is, playing without Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour -- two of the team's better perimeter defenders -- makes it hard. Still, improvement has to be made.

"Guys have to make an effort," Adelman said. "As a team, we all have to be aware of what's hurting us. ... It really comes down to effort, night-in and night-out. You have to have better effort. You can't give in. That's what's frustrating (against Golden State). In the first half we did a pretty good job. Third quarter, we just gave in to the situation."

The Warriors' comeback was fueled in part by a bunch of Wolves turnovers, to be sure. And that got Golden State into a rhythm. But Adelman said his team, on defense, was reacting rather than anticipating what was going to happen. 

We'll see if that can happen tomorrow in New Orleans. 

Here are some other items from today's workout:

--Michael Beasley practiced and will be on the trip, Adelman said. Not going? Darko Milicic and Ridnour. 

--Adelman said Ridnour is hoping for a return to action Monday against Phoenix. Adelman, though, thinks a more reasonable target is the Wolves' game in Denver next Wednesday or against the Clippers Thursday.

--Adelman knows he Kevin Love has been asked to do a lot of things, play a ton of minutes, and is probably tired. But the fact is, Adelman said, is that Love has to play for the Wolves to have a chance to win. Love, meanwhile, said he will continue to play a lot and produce. "Everybody is tired at this point," he said. 

--J.J. Barea said he was sore after playing 36-plus minutes Wednesday. But he said the extended time allowed him to knock the rust of his game that had accumulated while recovering from a bruised quad that forced him out of six games.

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