MILWAUKEE The Timberwolves lost a preseason game Saturday night in Milwaukee but found Corey Brewer, their first-round draft pick whose jump shot and athletic presence had mostly been missing before the 106-97 loss to the Bucks.
Brewer, the former Florida star who won two NCAA titles, entered the evening with a 25.9 field-goal percentage and a 3.6 scoring averaging in the Wolves' first five preseason games. He left Bradley Center after a 27-point, six-assist, four-rebound night.
"I've been thinking too much," he said. "I finally slowed down."
Brewer made 10 of his 15 shots -- including three of three from three-point range -- on a night when the Wolves twice led by 10 points in the first two quarters and trailed by 14 early in the third quarter after the Bucks outscored them 32-8 to end the first half and begin the second.
"He's too good a player to keep playing how he was," Wolves coach Randy Wittman said. "The more he pressed, the tighter he got. It's hard to play that way. Tonight, he made a couple of threes right away out of the corner. That happens as a player: All of a sudden, you make a couple and your confidence soars."
The Wolves played their fourth road game in six nights and were outscored a combined 64-0 in stretches of those four games: 11-0 at Memphis, 21-0 at Atlanta, 18-0 at Indiana and 14-0 to end the second quarter at Milwaukee.
"That's our Achilles right now," said Wittman, who hopes injured point guards Randy Foye and Sebastian Telfair will return to practice this week in time for the team's final two preseason games.
The Wolves, turnover-prone in five previous games, committed 15 turnovers before halftime and five after.
The Wolves' bulging roster and hindsight has Wittman thinking about utilizing the NBA Development League more this season if a player misses extensive time because of an injury. Only first- and second-year players can be sent there and, in retrospect, Wittman wishes the Wolves had sent Rashad McCants there when he was returning from knee surgery last year.
"We really didn't do a good job of getting him down there to play; we threw him to the wolves, so to speak," he said.
Wolves players eligible for the D-League this season: rookies Brewer and Chris Richard, and second-year players Foye and Craig Smith.
Veteran center Theo Ratliff got the night off Saturday after another effective performance Friday in Indiana (eight points, three blocks, six rebounds in 17 minutes). It looks as if he'll be the regular-season starting center on nights when Wittman doesn't go to a small lineup and starts Al Jefferson instead.
"He's showing me he deserves playing time," Wittman said. "I hope for his sake he can stay healthy, because he has been great."
Forward Ryan Gomes played after missing all but four minutes of games at Memphis, Atlanta and Indiana (turned ankle). In 15 minutes, he scored five points and hit a three-pointer that got the Wolves within a basket with 5:12 left.