WASHINGTON - Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman emerged after Sunday's 93-72 victory ended their two-game losing streak and remarked how the ball moved better offensively against the Wizards that afternoon than it had before in this still young season.
So with the starting lineup modified to compensate for the absence of injured Michael Beasley, just why was that?
"Um," Wolves forward Kevin Love said, "Mike being out?"
He smiled as he said that and then added "I'm just kidding" twice.
Ricky Rubio's 14 assists helped the Wolves record more assists (22) than turnovers (16) for the first time since their season-opening loss to Oklahoma City.
Is it just a coincidence that the ball moved like it did with Beasley home rehabbing a sprained foot?
Does it move better without him?
"Well, it did today because we didn't have him," Adelman said. "It's something we have to learn. It's something we've been talking about all year long. Sometimes, especially early in the game, you have to move the ball to help your teammates as much as you try to score yourself. If you play right, the ball is going to come back to you if you're doing the right thing."
So ... was Love really kidding?
"You know, I defer," he said, looking away.
He added: "When we move the ball, it starts with the point guard and it's contagious. With Ricky and Luke [Ridnour] and J.J. [Barea], it starts with those guys. When we do that, we get good looks with this offense. We're talented enough. We have the players who can make plays off pick-and-rolls. We're most effective when we move the ball, when we make three-plus passes and we get open shots."
One of a kind
Love extended his season-starting streak of at least 20 points and 12 rebounds to eight games with a 20-point, 16-rebound outing. He's the first player to reach such a streak since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began the 1975-76 season with 10 consecutive games for the Lakers.
"Love is the most unique player in our league because you just don't have a guy who's a phenomenal rebounder like him who also takes seven threes a game," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "He's really put himself in a position to move all over the floor. I think a lot of people thought he'd be a guy who gets double-doubles in this league. I don't think anyone envisioned 26 and 14. They were thinking he'd be a 14-10 type guy."
Barea's return soon?
Barea missed his fourth consecutive game because of that hamstring injury. He worked long and hard after warmups ended with player development coach Shawn Respert, and Adelman said he could play Monday at Toronto and Tuesday vs. Chicago at home.