After the Wolves' loss to Phoenix on Wednesday, two of the more frustrated players in the team's locker room were Anthony Tolliver and Martell Webster.
Webster, in his fifth NBA season, and with a playoff appearance on his résumé, is one of the team's few veterans. Tolliver, in his third season, is a consistently hard worker. Both have been vocal about their views on this difficult season. Tolliver has questioned whether all the players had bought into coach Kurt Rambis' system, an observation Kevin Love echoed earlier this week. Wednesday night both gave their views on the team as the regular season wound down with a 12-game losing streak.
Tolliver's frustration stems from the team losing the same way too often. Namely, by putting together spurts of good play, but not four quarters of it. He also reiterated a familiar theme.
"My urgency has been the same," he said. "We just have to try to get more guys on the same page. ... We just keep doing the same stuff, and that's what's so frustrating. The same mistakes are getting us."
Webster sounds as if he agrees. His point was that a team filled with so many young players is bound to go through a difficult early period while those youngsters learn what it takes to win in the NBA.
"All young guys want to be the top scorers in the league," he said. "They don't understand what it takes to win. You have to let them flush that out. ... Just hope they get it out of their systems fast. Then you can move on."
Both Tolliver and Webster are putting their games where their mouths are. Both usually come off the bench, though Tolliver got a start Wednesday with Love injured. Tolliver has scored in double figures in five of six games, shooting 58.1 percent and averaging 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists, in that time. Webster has scored in double figures the past four games, shooting 68.8 percent -- 11-for-15 on three-pointers -- and averaged 15.8 points and 4.5 assists in that stretch.
A nice ring to it
Talk to center Darko Milicic about it for any length of time, and you know how strongly he feels about the charity effort he and his wife, Zorana, have become involved with, the Zorana and Darko Milicic Fund for Children with Life Threatening Diseases.
It all started when he read about four children with Batten Disease -- a terminal childhood disease -- in a newspaper back home in Serbia. He helped pay for each child -- at a cost of $35,000 each -- to travel with their families to China for stem-cell treatment. Now he's going to raffle off his 2004 NBA championship ring -- won when he was in Detroit -- and a championship belt Rasheed Wallace made for his Pistons teammates. Also in the raffle package is a trip to the NBA Finals this spring.
Zorana gave birth to a son a month ago. The couple also has a 21-month-old daughter. The money will go toward giving children back in Serbia more access to the treatment. Milicic said the hope is those treatments will keep those children alive long enough for a medicine to be developed to help treat the disease.
There also will be a local fundraiser at next week's regular-season finale, and Milicic is inviting local families dealing with the disease to come.