Timberwolves rookie guard Alexey Shved needed a full game to score his first NBA points.
He needed three games to find a groove.
Shved was hesitant and scoreless in his NBA debut, Friday's season-opening victory over Sacramento.
He was poised and prolific in a fourth quarter when he played all 12 minutes and scored all 10 of his points -- including two three-pointers -- in Monday's improbable comeback victory at Brooklyn, the fourth-largest comeback in franchise history and the biggest since 1998.
"He was terrific," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said after his team trailed by 22 points in the third quarter Monday. "I think he got a little confidence going. He got a feel for the game. He has been playing well all season. Tonight, he made some shots. If he gets in the open court, he's going to make a good play."
Teammate Andrei Kirilenko has seen Shved play with that kind of command before when both were with CSKA Moscow and the Russian national team.
It took the 23-year-old shooting guard all of three NBA games to show a glimpse of that.
"We play three games, first game, I start not so good," said Shved, who plays his fourth NBA game Wednesday night against Orlando at Target Center. "But every time, step by step, I'm thinking I want to play better. This is good game, but I can play better. Every time I need to play better and better. I want to do this and team needs this. I need some time to stay comfortable. I just changed place."
He is in a new league and a new country. He needs time, at least three games apparently, maybe much longer.
"It's going to be like that," teammate J.J. Barea said. "It's his first year, so sometimes it's going to be tough and something he's going to get it going. He'll learn ... He was awesome. I told him, 'Be aggressive.' I told him, 'Just shoot. Stop passing, just shoot.' He turned it on. He started being aggressive."
No rest for reserves
Adelman relied on an improvised collection of mostly reserves in a fourth quarter Monday when the Wolves finished with a 15-2 burst that included the game's final 11 points. He stayed with Shved, Barea, Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham while starters Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Derrick Williams and Luke Ridnour watched for all or most of the fourth quarter.
"You have to find out about these guys in these situations," Adelman said after Monday's game. "We don't know. We had a good game defensively the first game. [Sunday in Toronto] we were terrible. Tonight, we were bad for three quarters, but you have to find out. For us to win, we have to play harder than the other team."
Budinger, Shved and Barea played Monday's entire fourth quarter. Cunningham played all of it but 28 seconds and continued to play with the kind of energy and production (11 points, 11 rebounds) Adelman wants out of him coming off the bench.
With a small lineup on the floor, the Wolves finally found an answer for Nets guard Deron Williams and the pick-and-roll that Brooklyn worked to perfect for the game's first half and a bit more.
"Dante, I think, changed the game," Barea said. "He came with so much energy, rebounding, putbacks, showing on the pick-and-rolls. I think that changed the whole game."
Starting center Nikola Pekovic played 9 minutes and 28 seconds of the fourth quarter, ran the floor relentlessly, hit the backboards and claimed he could have played on and on.
"It's great when you see all these players play hard and tough, I was just enjoying," he said. "I think we could play one more quarter. We were feeling great, just great."
He said it
Pekovic when asked if Shved's Monday performance might be due to a new haircut that shed that mop of hair and lost the accompanying headband: "You think because of that we win? Me and A.K., we make him cut his hair. Now he look like man."