LOS ANGELES - Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman shrugged and sighed with a certain world weariness Wednesday night when asked once again if he's considering lineup changes to prevent almost nightly double-digit, first-quarter deficits.
He explained simply that he likes the size and energy of the group he brings off the bench --the same collection that scored 72 points (best in the NBA this season) in Tuesday's comeback victory over the Clippers -- even if Michael Beasley doesn't seem to particularly like it.
Beasley scored 27 of those 72 points off the bench Tuesday and he was in that role yet again Wednesday against the Lakers, even though bench mate Derrick Williams was promoted to starter against the Lakers when Kevin Love fell ill and missed the game while Lakers star Kobe Bryant played on with a plastic mask protecting his broken nose.
"It's hard, I've never been in a position like this," Beasley said about a reserve's role he has filled for the past 18 games. "I've always been a starter. Coming off the bench is different. My minutes fluctuate. It's kind of weird. You just have to be professional about it, stay ready and work on my game. We've got so much talent on this team."
He might not have to worry about such things -- at least not in Minnesota -- if you believe the national rumor mill that has the Wolves trading Beasley to anywhere from the Lakers, Boston, Houston or New Jersey for anything from a trade exception, a draft pick or a veteran player by the March 15 deadline.
"It's part of the game," Beasley said. "I've been traded once before. Nobody wants to get traded. I just play basketball, and if it happens, it happens."
Great stat line
Elias Sports Bureau crunched the numbers from Tuesday's victory over the Clippers and concluded that Williams became the first player in NBA history to shoot 90 percent from the field (minimum 10 attempts) and perfect from the three-point range (minimum 4 attempts) and free-throw line (minimum 5 attempts) in a single game when he went 9-for-10 from the floor, 4-for-4 on threes and 5-for-5 from the line Tuesday.
"I have no idea what they're talking about," Adelman said. "I don't know how they come up with that. I don't know how they watch all that. I just know he was really, really good."
Los Angeles eccentric sports-talk radio host Vic "The Brick" Jacobs -- dressed in a white fur hat and coat, a Lakers medallion hung from his neck -- cornered Beasley before Wednesday's game and asked him repeatedly how he would have responded if he had gotten his nose broken in an All-Star Game by Dwayne Wade like Bryant did.
Beasley backpedaled. He avoided. He slipped the punches. Then he came up with an answer.
"You know what I'd do if I was Kobe?" he said. "I'd sit out tonight's game."
Wolves rookie Ricky Rubio faces one of his favorite point guards -- Phoenix's Steve Nash -- for the first time Thursday. At last weekend's All-Star Game in Orlando, Nash complimented Rubio's abilities and Nash said he considers it a compliment if he's compared to Rubio.
Could that possibly be true?
"No, he's too good," Rubio said with a smile. "He's doing great things in this league. He's one of the best point guards ever. You can learn a lot of things from him. I talked to him (in Orlando), just for a few minutes. I love the way he is."
D League bound
The Wolves on Wednesday sent rookie Malcolm Lee to Sioux Falls of the D League for another rehab assignment as he recovers from December knee surgery. The Skyforce play three games in the next four days, so he is expected to stay there through then, and perhaps longer.
When asked if there's a chance Lee can still contribute much this season, Adelman said, "I don't think so , not this year, but we certainly have a lot of hope for him in the future. "