TORONTO – On Thursday, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman contemplated changes to his rotation following Wednesday’s lackadaisical home loss to Sacramento.
In Friday’s 94-89 loss to the Raptors, he dabbled with two, subbing forward Luc Mbah a Moute into the game in both halves to replace Corey Brewer after he got into foul trouble trying to defend Raptors star guard DeMar DeRozan and using A.J. Price for four second-half minutes after being inactive Wednesday.
Adelman considered using Mbah a Moute against Kings star Rudy Gay two nights earlier, but was reluctant to disrupt a rotation and a bench with which he felt satisfied. On Friday, Mbah a Moute played 18 minutes — his most since Dec. 27 against Washington —spelling Brewer, who reached four fouls trying to stop DeRozan.
“I felt they both did fine,” Adelman said. “Luc did a good job defensively. DeRozan’s a real handful. When Corey got in foul trouble, I felt Luc was our best option at that point.”
Price played his fleeting minutes in a two-point guard look with J.J. Barea, who for the second consecutive game played the entire fourth quarter while starter Ricky Rubio watched from the bench.
Adelman said he continues to contemplate lineup tinkering daily.
“We’re talking about it all the time: What can we do to make things better?” Adelman said. “But one of the biggest problems we’ve had is for six weeks we’ve had a decent game and then we’ve had a bad game.
‘‘It’s not like it’s a long losing streak where you just have to do something and it changes from game to game. You hope that [a long losing streak] doesn’t happen.”
The Raptors started DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas, two players the Wolves bypassed in separate drafts. The Raptors took DeRozan ninth overall in 2009 after the Wolves drafted Rubio fifth and Jonny Flynn sixth and selected Valanciunas fifth in 2011 after the Wolves took Derrick Williams second.
DeRozan is averaging 21.3 points a game and is the Raptors’ lead scorer now that Gay has been traded.
“He’s really a good player,” Adelman said. “He’s a player who made himself after he came into the league. Now he’s posting up, he’s shooting the ball well, he’s averaging 22 points a game. He has gotten better every year he has been in the league.”
Adelman wondered after Wednesday’s home loss to Sacramento whether it would take “an act of Congress” to get his players to commit a hard foul.
Love agrees. “We need to develop some sort of edge,” he said. “We talk a lot of trash. We are edgy in practice. We just need to transition that into the game. We have it in us. We just need to go out there and do it … I think we have a lot of guys like that.”
• Toronto starting point guard Kyle Lowry and reserve center Chuck Hayes played for Adelman in Houston. Lowry starred Friday night, scoring 24 points. “He plays hard all the time,” Adelman said. “He was really good for us in Houston and it looks like he’s playing that way right now.”
• Raptors reserve John Salmons left the game in the second quarter because of back spasms and did not return.
•Wolves backup center Ronny Turiaf’s 10 rebounds were a season high.
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