Healthy Wolves top Suns in Phoenix

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2013 - 9:47 AM

In an ever-changing rotation, having 12 players made a world of difference.

 

– By their modest standards, the Timberwolves had an abundance of riches available for Friday night’s 117-86 runaway victory at Phoenix.

That means 12 healthy players.

Until this quick two-game trip West that ended Friday, the Wolves haven’t had that many with a 15-man roster since the day after Christmas.

So now that Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic have returned to the starting lineup and Chase Budinger is back after four months away with perhaps Kevin Love not far behind … do the Wolves have enough time in the season’s remaining three weeks to find a way to play together again?

“I just don’t know,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “We’re trying to work people back in. The rotation’s changed. We’re in situations where we’re just not used to being in.”

That was obvious when the two-game trip opened Thursday night with a 101-98 loss in Sacramento, where Adelman got caught at the end of the game with a defensive lineup on the floor when the Wolves ended up with the ball and the chance to tie the game with a three-pointer but with few shooters on the floor.

Ricky Rubio was left flinging the ball out to Dante Cunningham for a desperation three-pointer that went wide right at the final buzzer.

“I don’t blame him,” Adelman said, referring to his starting point guard. “I blame me. We need to think ahead.”

The Wolves took much of the thinking out of Friday’s game at Phoenix after they led 31-18 at the end of one quarter, 67-39 by halftime and by as many as 35 and never fewer than 19 in the second half.

Their 31-point victory came four days after the Suns beat the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers by 23 points at home on Monday.

A month after they lost an 84-83 overtime game in Phoenix, the Wolves thumped the Suns with Kirilenko looking more comfortable in his fourth game back after he had missed nine because of a strained calf.

He led the Wolves in scoring with 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds before he sat for most of the fourth quarter.

“I think it’s better,” Adelman said before the game. “It doesn’t bother him as much, but I don’t think he plays with the same freedom he was playing with before. That’s going to take some time for him to get used to it. I have to be careful and not push him minutes-wise. With Chase and Gelly [Mickael Gelabale], I don’t have to push him that many minutes.”

The Wolves also did so with Budinger playing through the soreness following Thursday’s return performance with a 16-minute, 11-point performance that helped the Wolves build their big early lead.

“I’m just going to watch him,” said Adelman, who kept Budinger within a 15-20 minute limit. “You don’t want to do anything where it flares up or anything like that.”

The Wolves’ bench outscored the Suns’ 58-31, thanks in good part to Cunningham’s 18-point night on 8-for-11 shooting.

Etc.

• Former Wolves forward Wes Johnson had been on something of a roll — starting the past nine games, averaging 12.9 points in those games — since these teams played in Phoenix a month ago, at least until Friday, when he made just one of his first nine shots.

• Gelabale saw his first action since Budinger returned to the lineup Thursday by playing the game’s final six minutes.

• Somebody asked Greg Stiemsma before Friday’s game which Wolves player’s alma mater will go the farthest in the NCAA tournament. “Not mine,” he said with a long face after his beloved Wisconsin Badgers lost in the first round.

  • related content

  • Video: Wolves rout Suns on the road

    Saturday March 23, 2013

    Wolves won on the road for first time since Feb. 11 at Cleveland, ending nine-game losing streak at Phoenix.

  • Wolves-Phoenix game recap

    Saturday March 23, 2013

    GAME RECAPImpact playerAndrei KirilenkoThe small forward scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the rout.By the NUMBERS18 Points off...

  • Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekoic

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 115 FINAL
Orlando 100
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 103
Denver 69 FINAL
Memphis 99
Chicago 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 123
Montreal 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Boston 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 3 FINAL
Toronto 1
Dallas 6 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Columbus 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Nashville 4 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Calgary 0
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL
San Jose 6
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 67 FINAL
Army 71
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Youngstown St 87 FINAL
Detroit 93
East Tenn St 55 FINAL
Furman 59
Saint Louis 60 FINAL
George Mason 68
USC Upstate 78 FINAL
Jacksonville 65
High Point 72 FINAL
Liberty 53
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Long Island 67
Western Ky 56 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 69
Dayton 64 FINAL
Massachusetts 66
Chattanooga 72 FINAL
Mercer 75
Wofford 58 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 42
Maryland 56 FINAL
Ohio State 80
FIU 56 FINAL
Old Dominion 71
Fair-Dickinson 65 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Mount St Marys 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 73
Bryant 68 FINAL
St Francis-PA 75
Northern Ky 75 FINAL
Stetson 85
Coll of Charleston 70 FINAL
Towson 74
Western Carolina 85 FINAL
Va Military 70
Sacred Heart 64 FINAL
Wagner 75
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 78
Kennesaw St 67 FINAL
North Florida 86
Appalachian St 46 FINAL
Ga Southern 83
Holy Cross 54 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 64
Eastern Ill 51 FINAL
UT Martin 81
Jacksonville St 82 FINAL
Belmont 103
Connecticut 58 FINAL
Cincinnati 70
Rider 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 49
SIU Edwardsville 75 FINAL
SE Missouri St 61
Marshall 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 54
Tenn Tech 56 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Middle Tennessee 58 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
Ill-Chicago 65 FINAL
Milwaukee 71
Weber State 67 FINAL
North Dakota 60
Denver 54 FINAL
North Dakota St 61
IUPU-Ft Wayne 66 FINAL
South Dakota 55
Louisiana 85 FINAL
South Alabama 89
Ark-Little Rock 75 FINAL
Arkansas State 65
Georgia State 88 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 74
ULM 58 FINAL
Troy 55
Portland 46 FINAL
Gonzaga 64
Kentucky 69 FINAL
Missouri 53
Eastern Ky 78 FINAL
Murray State 85
UAB 69 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Idaho State 76 FINAL
Northern Colorado 79
UMKC 57 FINAL
Grand Canyon 78
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Utah Valley U 78
Colorado 98 FINAL
USC 94
Cal Poly 57 FINAL
UC Irvine 67
Hawaii 84 FINAL
CS-Northridge 73
Pepperdine 50 FINAL
Pacific 43
Santa Clara 64 FINAL
San Diego 69
Utah 59 FINAL
UCLA 69
UC Santa Barbara 64 FINAL
UC Davis 70
Montana 73 FINAL
Portland State 54
Montana State 59 FINAL
Sacramento St 75
Long Beach State 91 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 85
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
St Marys-CA 68
San Francisco 74 FINAL
BYU 78
California 76 FINAL
Washington St 67
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 51 FINAL
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 73 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 72
(24) Oklahoma 81 FINAL
(14) Texas 84
Nebraska Omaha 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 70
UC-Riverside 68 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56
Army 65 FINAL
Boston U 40
New Orleans 40 FINAL
Nicholls 56
Charlotte 68 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 71
Towson 54 FINAL
Delaware 72
Hofstra 66 FINAL
Northeastern 45
New Hampshire 56 FINAL
Maine 87
Albany 89 FINAL
Vermont 48
Hartford 60 FINAL
Stony Brook 58
UNC-Wilmington 62 FINAL
William & Mary 67
Clemson 62 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Alabama 54 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 85
(23) Syracuse 58 FINAL
(8) Louisville 78
Missouri 68 FINAL
Florida 52
Iona 66 FINAL
Fairfield 77
Manhattan 38 FINAL
Marist 77
NC State 63 FINAL
Virginia 71
(4) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 50
(22) Rutgers 58 FINAL
Purdue 49
(5) Maryland 91 FINAL
Michigan 65
Milwaukee 58 FINAL
Cleveland State 67
Wright State 108 FINAL
Oakland 89
Jacksonville 64 FINAL
USC Upstate 66
North Florida 40 FINAL
Kennesaw St 46
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Ky 68
Loyola-Maryland 57 FINAL
Holy Cross 51
Lamar 87 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Fla Gulf Coast 71 FINAL
Lipscomb 49
Vanderbilt 44 FINAL
(18) Miss State 69
IUPUI 62 FINAL
Western Ill 73
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Houston Baptist 50
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 63
McNeese State 78 FINAL
SE Louisiana 57
Oral Roberts 46 FINAL
South Dakota St 71
Louisiana Tech 66 FINAL
Western Ky 82
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 73
Texas-El Paso 52 FINAL
UAB 67
Auburn 47 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
UMKC 59
Illinois 57 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 59
(20) Iowa 102 FINAL
Northwestern 99
Utah Valley U 55 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Green Bay 67 FINAL
Valparaiso 52
Ole Miss 41 FINAL
LSU 70
Portland State 31 FINAL
Montana 72
Sacramento St 64 FINAL
Montana State 91
North Dakota 55 FINAL
Weber State 48
Ohio State 85 FINAL
Wisconsin 73
Northern Colorado 61 FINAL
Idaho State 70
BYU 68 FINAL
San Francisco 63
St Marys-CA 56 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 49
Pacific 63 FINAL
Pepperdine 59
Cal-Irvine 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 58
San Diego 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
UC Davis 64 FINAL
Cal Poly 72
Long Beach St 41 2nd Half 9:56
Hawaii 48
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: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close