Wolves push until they finally pull away

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2012 - 6:40 AM

Kevin Love's 30 points and 18 rebounds were essential to dispatch the Bobcats, who hung around well into the second half.

view larger photos


In this compressed, post-lockout NBA season, where games come fast and furious, practice time is rare. So you have to make the most of the ones you get.

Which brings us to the Timberwolves. After four consecutive losses filled with turnovers and choppy offensive execution, coach Rick Adelman and his staff spent Tuesday tweaking the team's attack. Talk about results: a 102-90 victory over the struggling Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday at Target Center. The Wolves:

• Moved the ball wonderfully, finishing with a season-high 26 assists on 43 made field goals, with only 13 turnovers.

• Made more than half of their shots (43-for-85, .506) for the first time in nine games.

• Proved once again what can happen when an experienced coach talks and his team listens.

"You can't go out and do any contact," Adelman said after the Wolves (14-16) had handed Charlotte (3-26) its 16th loss in a row. "You have to do a mental practice, and that's what we did [Tuesday]. We did a walkthrough, we talked about it, showed 'em."

Adelman's message was clear. The Wolves were dependent on pick-and-roll plays, and teams were figuring out ways to stop it. So the team needed to tweak things, get into the pick-and-roll after moving the ball from one side to another. Get some flow to the offense and run multiple pick-and-rolls if necessary until the open shot presented itself.

And then make it.

Kevin Love did. He made 11 of 21 shots on the way to 30 points and 18 rebounds. So did Nikola Pekovic, who got his seventh double-double in 11 games (21 points, 11 boards). Ditto for Luke Ridnour (10 points) and J.J. Barea (12).

Ricky Rubio got six points, seven assists and four steals in three quarters before resting the final 12 minutes -- not because Adelman was unhappy with him, but because the group of Ridnour, Barea, Love, Pekovic and Martell Webster was doing such a good job.

Actually, that five was on the floor for the end of the third quarter, which ended with the Wolves on a 10-0 run that broke open a tie game. That same group helped push the lead to 19 at 89-70 on Barea's three-pointer with 7:17 left in the game.

By then the offense was humming. The Wolves were more organized getting into their sets and coming out with open shots.

"That's something we talked about [Tuesday]," Ridnour said. "We've done so well in the pick-and-roll, it kind of made it easy for teams to guard us. But we moved the ball, side to side, got everyone involved and everyone made plays tonight. It was a good win."

The Bobcats did hang in the game longer than expected. Charlotte, getting healthier with Corey Maggette and D.J. Augustin back in the rotation, built an early 15-6 lead and scored 30 first-quarter points before the Wolves started to lock down on defense. Still, the Bobcats -- behind Kemba Walker (21 points), Maggette (18) and Boris Diaw (14) -- were answering every Wolves run with one of their own until late in the third quarter with the score tied 66-66.

But eventually, the Wolves kicked it into a higher gear. Barea, Ridnour and Rubio combined for 20 assists and four turnovers. Barea had none.

"You saw that in the second half," said Barea, who had a team-high eight assists. "We moved the ball, we went from one pick-and-roll to the other one. We were able to find the open guy. That made it a lot easier."

So what a difference a practice makes, right? "We're going to do it again [Thursday]," Adelman said.

  • related content

  • Postgame: Back on the winning track

    Wednesday February 15, 2012

    Wolves get much-needed victory with tough schedule coming up

  • Webster treats back with care

    Wednesday February 15, 2012

    Martell Webster is only 25 years old, but sometimes he feels like an old man.

  • Wolves-Charlotte game recap

    Wednesday February 15, 2012

    He fell two rebounds short of his seventh career 30-20 game, finishing with 30 points and 18 rebounds.

  • Kevin Love (42), Boris Diaw


    Up next: 7 p.m. Friday at Houston

    TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question