MEXICO CITY – The Timberwolves flew home from Mexico City late Wednesday night without ever having played a game there and now will have one more practice to integrate newcomer Luc Mbah a Moute into their lineup.
Acquired last week in a trade that sent former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to Sacramento, Mbah a Moute practiced fully with his new team for the first time Tuesday in Mexico City. After getting Thursday off to rest from their travels, the team is expected to practice Friday in Minneapolis, a session that will give him more time to learn two positions in coach Rick Adelman’s offense after playing two games already with just one morning shoot-around’s experience.
“It’s a lot of learning, but it’s still basketball,” Mbah a Moute said. “The more you practice and the more you do it, the more it stays with you. It is basketball. … What I do most is come in, play defense and bring the energy. I was able to go out those two games and find my way. Right now, I’m finding my way, but hoping I get to where it becomes instinct.”
Adelman paired Mbah a Moute with defensive-minded Dante Cunningham in his first two games at Oklahoma City and Dallas and now likely will experiment playing those two with Corey Brewer as well to see if he can get enough offense out of his three best defenders together.
“It’s just going to take some time to figure out how to play all those guys together,” Adelman said. “But I think we do have a chance there. When you have him and Corey and Dante on the floor together, we’re pretty long and active defensively.”
Turiaf getting closer
Center Ronny Turiaf remains out because of a radial head fracture in his right elbow sustained in the season’s second game, but he went through an offense walk-through with teammates at Tuesday’s practice and is shooting more and more by the day with that right arm.
“I don’t think he’s ready to play, but he’s definitely better than he was,” Adelman said.
Get used to it
An odd moment from the Wolves’ session with Mexico City media members after Tuesday’s practice: Surrounded by cameras and recorders, Wolves star Kevin Love looked up like a man seeking a lifesaver and called for help to a team public-relations man after a reporter asked if this is his last season in Minnesota.
Love otherwise didn’t reply. The P.R. rep immediately called for “Next question” without hearing exactly what the offending question was.
Spur coach Gregg Popovich before a game that was never played Wednesday at 22,500-seat Mexico City Arena: “It’s a good venue, a good place to play and I think the people are going to be very loud and enjoy themselves.”