SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders talked the other day with reserve guard J.J. Barea about how expresses himself when he is taken out of the game in fourth quarters.
Kevin Love called out Barea and Dante Cunningham for sitting on the bench during timeouts and pouting because they weren’t playing late in a Jan. 8 loss to Phoenix during which the Wolves blew a six-point lead with 96 seconds left.
On Tuesday at Phoenix, Barea again clearly was unhappy when he was taken out midway through the fourth quarter. Saunders on his weekly KFAN radio show said he put Barea “on notice” and said he needs to contain his emotions better.
“It’s going to be tough for me to change,” Barea said. “I can calm down a little bit. I let it go real quick. I get a little mad. I wish I could be out there a little longer. Things happen and then I get back to getting my team going from the bench.
“I don’t think I’ve got to change it. I care about the game. I care about the team. I care about winning. So sometimes I show it a little bit more than others. No big deal.”
Barea played 6 minutes, 46 seconds in Saturday’s fourth quarter, shooting 2-for-5. He finished with six points in the 108-97 victory over the Kings.
Also back …
Not only did the Wolves have Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin back on Saturday night, but coach Rick Adelman rejoined them Saturday after he returned to Minneapolis for three days on this five-game trip to help his wife, Mary Kay, while doctors adjust her seizure medications.
He said he missed a home game against Houston last month because she had a serious fall that doctors believe was seizure-related. He said she is shaky and drowsy until her medication gets properly adjusted.
“We just enjoyed the snow and zero-degree weather together,” he said dryly.
A special place
Martin returned to Sacramento — where he played his first five-plus NBA seasons, the first two under Adelman — for the first time this season.
“Very special,” Martin said about returning four seasons after the Kings traded him to Houston. “If it wasn’t for Coach Adelman taking a chance on me, I probably would have gotten picked up next by the Lakers and y’all never would have heard of my name because I would have played five minutes a game backing up Kobe [Bryant].
“Playing in front of these fans, they showed me great respect when I was here and they took me in. They really had a big part changing my life as a grown man.”
• Former Wolves forward Derrick Williams delivered a 26 points and 12 rebounds as a Kings starter in DeMarcus Cousins’ absence in Friday’s 126-122 loss to the Lakers. He returned to a reserve’s role Saturday, scoring six points in 21 minutes.
• Martin isn’t worried about his conditioning in his first game played in three weeks. “I’m a little gazelle, skinny guy,” he said. “I can run all day.”