Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman delivered some words of warning to his players after Saturday’s tepid preseason loss to Toronto and told them just four games in that this season is solely theirs to make, for good or bad.
He also lectured them about defending their Target Center court after a week in which they went 0-2 there against CSKA Moscow and the Raptors.
“If you’re going to be successful in this league, you better win at home, and we’ve lost two games at home,” he said.
Technically, the Wolves are 1-2 in home preseason games. Thursday’s victory over Milwaukee in Sioux Falls, S.D., is considered a Wolves home game. The Wolves also are the “home” team for Sunday’s game against Boston in Montreal.
“I guess we’ve had more home games, but to me it’s two,” Adelman said, “and that’s not good enough.”
The Wolves went 20-21 at Target Center last season on their way to a 31-51 overall record.
For some context: New Wolves forward Corey Brewer won more games at home with Denver last season than his current team won all year.
“I played on a team last year that went 38-3 at home,” Brewer said. “We got the third [playoff] seed. ... Like I told the guys, you have to win at home.”
Adelman scolded his players after Saturday’s loss but also gave them Sunday and Monday off since they don’t play another game until Sunday. He attributed Saturday’s performance to his players’ lack of concentration and willpower rather than ability and warned against overconfidence in a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade.
“They’re playing at home, they had a day off [Friday],” Adelman said. “What’s the reason? You think you’re that good? That’s what I told them. I told them that the other night [Thursday in Sioux Falls]. Maybe it’ll help us. Maybe it’ll wake us up.”
A time for change
The Wolves resume practice Tuesday and will have five days to study film and correct film before they play the final three games of their preseason schedule.
“I don’t know, but we have to fix it whatever it is,” Brewer said when asked about the team’s collective attitude. “I feel like Coach knows what he’s doing, and we’ll fix it this week.”
Point guard Ricky Rubio knows it’s just four preseason games, and he’s hopeful veteran shooting guard Kevin Martin will be back in the starting lineup Sunday after essentially missing the past three games.
“Kevin Martin, for example, he’s a great scorer,” Rubio said. “It’s something we have to be worried about but we know we can change it. We have time, but it’s time to do it. We can’t start the season like we have done, especially at home, and we should have to change it now. We have a week for practice. We need to try to change, be more aggressive and get the rhythm.”
Rubio shot 0-for-7 on Saturday after he went 7-for-15 in the first three preseason games. Together, Rubio and backcourt mates J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved went 2-for-21 against the Raptors.
“I wasn’t making shots,” Rubio said, “but it can’t affect the way I play.”