The latest buzzword when it comes to the Timberwolves is: Communication.
As in, the team has to communicate on defense . As in, communication on defense Saturday was a big reason why, in a one-sided route of Utah, the Wolves held the Jazz to 28.8 percent shooting.
There have been other buzzwords the Wolves have latched onto at different points in this up-and-down season. They have needed more energy. They have needed better starts. They have needed to be more willing to foul.
And now, they just need to talk.
After Monday’s practice, with the team about to board a plane to Salt Lake City for Tuesday’s rematch with the Jazz, coach Rick Adelman and star forward Kevin Love both talked about….well, talking.
“It was one of our better games communicating to each other,” Adelman said of Saturday’s victory. “It’s something we have to do consistently, in each game. We’re not that great defensively, but we can get better.’’
Said Love: “If we can do that, get our back line, our bigs, talking – between me and (Nikola Pekovic) and even (Corey Brewer) when we’re switching off – then it just kind of goes all the way through our lineup. It’s pretty contagious. If we do that, communicate, we’re always gonna be a better team.”
We’ll see if they keep talking on the upcoming road trip.
Here are some other tidbits from today’s practice:
--With the deadline for fan voting set for tonight, Adelman once again pumped up the volume for Pekovic and Love.
On Pek: “He’s played well enough for it,” Adelman said. “But who knows? There are a lot of people in the West, a lot of power forwards who are really good. So I don’t know what the coaches will do. But he’s been consistent all year long. He’s really backed up what he needs to do with that contract. He just comes out and plays. You hope he’d get some consideration for that.’’
On Love: “He’s been terrific,” Adelman said. “I mean, he’s played at a high level. He’s had to made adjustments. Other teams are trying to take things out of his hands, so he can’t get the opportunities. But he’s been consistent, night-in and night-out. His rebounding is the same. His assist totals are up. I mean, he’s done just about everything he could do for us.’’
--Adelman on playing the same team in back-to-back games: “I think it’s a hard thing to accomplish, to go out and get two wins,” he said. “It really is. But it’s a good opportunity for us. We know they’re going to come out and their place and be aggressive. So it’s just one of those things. Seems like it’s happening more and more though. As you look around the league, it’s happened a lot this year. So, just the way it is. There are a lot of things about scheduling that you have to wonder about. But you can’t do anything about it.
--Love was asked today for some mid-season state-of-the-team analysis. “I don’t know what to say,” he said. “We just need to start climbing back, and we’ll be good. You can quote me on that.’’
--One last thing: Love is approaching a couple more milestones. He needs three rebounds to reach 4,000 for his career and is 41 points away from reaching the 6,000-point plateau.
When Love gets those three rebounds Tuesday -- a virtual certainty -- it would be his 327th NBA game. Since 1985-86, only Shaquille O'Neal and Dikembe Mutombo have reached 4,000 rebounds in fewer games. Dwight Howard did it in 327 games exactly.
That’s about it for now. Have a great rest of your day