The theme coming out of the morning shoot this today was simple: Take what happened in the fourth quarter of the Timberwolves’ come-from-way-behind victory at Brooklyn Sunday and carry it over to tonight’s game with Orlando.
The Wolves rallied from a 22-point deficit to win.
“It was great to be a part of that,” guard J.J. Barea said. “That was awesome. That’s what you play basketball for. That was great. And I think it made our team better. We had some fun there in the locker room after the game. But we waited until the fourth quarter that time. Now we have to start it from the beginning, especially at home.”
Chase Budinger was talking about how great it was that coach Rick Adelman allowed groups playing well together to stay on the floor. But another trend emerging from the early part of the season is that the Wolves have the depth that allows a different player to emerge each night. Sunday it was Alexey Shved, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter of that comeback win.
“That’s what’s great about this team,” Budinger said. With all the new additions in the summer, (Adelman) can play one through 12, and all 12 can contribute.”
SHVED, PART II
Much was made, in good nature, of Shved’s post-haircut look. Some teammates jokingly said it was Shved’s decision to have his long hair cut short that contributed to his game Sunday.
Teammate Ricky Rubio took it a step further. He snapped a photo of Shved sleeping on the plane on the flight back to Minnesota, and noted a strong resemblance: “Gotcha!!!” he tweeted. “The young Toni Kukoc is tired!”
Kukoc is a former NBA player from Croatia. When asked about his resemblance to Kukoc, Shved practically blushed. “Come on, guys,” he said. “I don’t know about that.”
Tonight’s game will match Nikola Pekovic and Orlando big man Nikola Vucevic, two of three NBA players from Montenegro. The two know each other well, having played together on the Montenegrin national team. So Pek knows all of Vucevic’s weaknesses, right?
“I know his, and he knows mine,” Pekovic said. “It will be a nice matchup for sure.”