To move up, Wolves must be able to clamp down

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 30, 2012 - 9:51 AM

Team defense has been emphasized in the preseason, but now the real games begin.

The Timberwolves ended the preseason ranked first defensively in the NBA in fewest points and lowest field-goal percentage allowed.

Yep, you read that right.

The same franchise that allowed 152 points in a game three seasons ago and surrendered 120 or more points a dozen times two seasons ago allowed opponents 80.9 points and a 38.3 shooting percentage in seven preseason games.

"I understand the preseason is a little different from the [regular] season and definitely different from the playoffs," Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "But I think it's a good start. We all know great offense makes you excited, but only defense can win you the game."

The Wolves limited Detroit and Milwaukee to fewer than 20 points in four of the preseason's final eight quarters with a defense that lacks a classic individual shutdown defender but has compensated for it so far -- and it's way early -- with scheme and attention to detail.

"I always heard Coach likes to work on offense early in camp, but this year we really got after it on defense the first four days," guard Brandon Roy said. "We put a lot of work into it."

Wolves coach Rick Adelman realizes it's only seven preseason games, but ...

"I think we can be pretty good if we're picking up what the other team is trying to do and if we have each other's back," Adelman said. "It's a matter of trust, really. We're going to try to make them go to a different option rather than go to their strengths."

Adelman looks back to last season and sees a team that defended well until Ricky Rubio went down because of a knee injury and Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic each were lost for part of the season's final six weeks.

"The last 20 games last year, we weren't very good," Adelman said. "We're trying to be better. We're trying to be more consistent. That's what we've been talking about since Day 1."

And the talk has been about "team" defense, the concept that they can compensate for that lack of great individual defenders by helping each other out when a mistake is made and the defense is about to break down.

"There are five of us out there, we're all looking to help each other," forward Dante Cunningham said. "There's not one guy out there that necessarily locks down someone per se, but we have a lot of guys who are going to give help and make sure our team looks great defensively.

"If you look at the makeup of our team, we've got such energy guys, such athletic guys all the way around, that defense kind of is second nature to us."

Adelman is eighth in NBA career victories with 971, a number usually credited to his offensive mind rather than his attention to defense.

"I think sometimes he may get a little overlooked because he really is a good offensive coach and his teams do a great job of running plays," Roy said. "But I played against his teams in Houston and they were all good defensively. You had to play against Ron [Artest] and Shane Battier. Those guys are defensive-minded. I always felt those were good defensive teams."

Adelman knows that leading the league in two prominent preseason defensive categories means nothing come Friday night's season opener against Sacramento at Target Center.

"Obviously when you get to the regular season, things will be harder," he said. "But I think it's a good learning tool for us. Hopefully players will understand that's how we're going to win, defending consistently night after night. I think we've done that so far. We've been able to stay consistent and I'd rather start there and have some basis to build on.

"That's going to be part of our identity. We have to win defensively. We have to be able to guard people."

Roy bangs knee

Roy was limited in practice on Monday after banging knees with a teammate. Adelman said Roy was held out from most of practice as a precaution and he said he expected Roy to participate fully when the team scrimmages hard on Tuesday.

  • WOLVES Season opener: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Sacramento • Target Center • TV: Ch. 29 (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close