Turnovers regain top spot on Wolves fix-it list

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2012 - 7:01 AM

The Wolves, who have lost three consecutive entering their game against Orlando on Monday, have turned the ball over 51 times in the past two games.

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman

Photo: Pat Sullivan, Associated Press

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Wolves coach Rick Adelman thought this was behind him.

The Wolves started the season playing fast and loose with the basketball, turning it over at an alarming rate. Adelman and his staff worked with the team, simplified the offense and worked on the issue until the turnovers dropped to a manageable level.

And then this: The Wolves, who have lost three consecutive entering their game against Orlando on Monday, have turned the ball over 51 times in the past two games. Dallas scored 30 points off 28 Wolves turnovers Friday. On Saturday the New York Knicks turned 23 Wolves turnovers into 29 points.

Talk about game-changers. The Mavs had a 30-10 edge in points off turnovers in a seven-point victory over the Wolves. Saturday, in a 100-98 victory, the Knicks had a 29-16 edge in points off turnovers.

The question is, what more can Adelman do?

"You just have to keep showing it to them," Adelman said. "You show who is turning the ball over, where they're turning it over. I really believe, sometimes, it's just a casualness with the ball."

As for who is turning the ball over, the answer is: Just about everyone. At least in the past two games. Against Dallas seven players had three or more turnovers. On Saturday six players had two or more.

Early in the game many of the turnovers came in the post, when Wolves big men were double-teamed.

"They double us in the post, we throw it away," Adelman said. "Sometimes we're trying to make the home-run play, rather than the pass that leads to the assist."

Kevin Love (three turnovers), Nikola Pekovic (four) and Derrick Williams (three) were all guilty of costly turnovers. But so were guards J.J. Barea (five) and Ricky Rubio (two crucial turnovers late).

"We had a chance in the end, but I turn it over two times in a row," Rubio said after Saturday's game. "That hurts so much, and we lost. I have to learn from that to take care of the ball."

Only the Thunder and Knicks average more turnovers per game than the Wolves (16.36).

Connections

Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin might have been a complete unknown just 10 days ago, but not to Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver. Lin is one of a couple dozen NBA players who have been wearing wristbands produced by the Christian-based company Tolliver partly owns.

The Active Faith company's wristbands read "In Jesus' name I play," and Lin started wearing one last season when he played at Golden State because Tolliver's former teammate, Steph Curry, wears one.

"He's a humble guy," Tolliver said of Lin. "It's crazy to say something like this after four games, but I think he'll be able to turn this into a long career."

The Wolves held Lin to an 8-for-24 shooting night (20 points, eight assists, six turnovers) by forcing him to go left, but he still made the winning free throw in the final five seconds on Saturday at Target Center.

Etc.

Malcolm Lee finished his weekend with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League by scoring four points on 2-for-9 shooting in a little more than 27 minutes Saturday night against Canton. Lee had four rebounds and five assists. He did not travel with the Wolves to Orlando.

Staff Writer Jerry Zgoda contributed to this report.

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