It doesn’t exactly make up for a difficult rookie season, but it helps.
Nemanja Bjelica is healthy again, he’s getting significant minutes again. And, frankly, the game is fun for him again.
“I finally feel good,” Bjelica said. “That’s the most important thing. I’m 100 percent healthy.’’
The reigning EuroLeague MVP, Bjelica came to America as a 27-year old rookie. He had a promising start. But then he was slowed by a knee contusion. Then, coming out of the All-Star break, a foot injury. His minutes dropped, sometimes to zero.
But after getting 11 points and 14 rebounds in Monday’s game with Houston, Bjelica had scored double figures in three consecutive games and in four of his past six games.
Saturday he had an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in Minnesota’s victory over Portland.
“I survived this year,” said Bjelica, who had to adjust to a new country and a new league. “After this, I will just be stronger and I’ll know what to expect next year.’’
It’s no coincidence that his improved play has come with the Wolves winning more games. Bjelica and Shabazz Muhammad have both picked up their production, and that has translated into a more potent bench.
Bjelica said he will return to his native Serbia after the season. But he will return to Minneapolis for summer workouts.
“I was angry, because I knew I could play here,” he said. “But you just have to wait for your opportunity. … I deserve to finish the season this way.’’
Room for one more
Karl-AnthonyTowns, who has won every Western Conference rookie of the month award this season, was named the conference’s player of the week for his play during the Wolves’ 3-0 road trip.
For the week Towns averaged 21.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. He had a 20-10 double-double in the victory at Golden State, scoring five points in the final two minutes of overtime. Then he had 17 points and 10 boards in a victory at Sacramento.
His 27 points against Portland included the game-winner with 1.8 seconds left.
Monday was the two-year anniversary of Corey Brewer’s 51-point game for the Wolves — against the same Rockets team he now plays for. Brewer hit 19 of 30 field goals in the game, which the Wolves won 112-110.
“Everything was going in,’’ Brewer said. “It was a fun game. Everybody was into it, Target Center was up.’’
The 51 points tied Kevin Love’s franchise record — sett during the 2011-12 season — that was broken when Mo Williams scored 52 in Indianapolis in January of 2015.
• Ricky Rubio has received the Professional Basketball Writers Association Minnesota chapter’s inaugural Flip Saunders Award for his professionalism with the media.