Malik Beasley wanted to make something clear Sunday — he didn't have any issues with Ryan Saunders regarding how the Timberwolves coach doled out Beasley's minutes.
After Friday's loss at Charlotte, in which Beasley played nearly 37 minutes, Beasley said he was campaigning the coaching staff for minutes. It wasn't supposed to be a critique of Saunders or the staff, he said.
"I don't want the words to get mixed up at all, either," Beasley said. "Coach has been doing a great job with me, working on minutes to adjust it to how I like it, so I appreciate that, coach. And don't get my words mixed up."
Part of that adjustment included Beasley playing the first 14 minutes Friday, something Saunders said wasn't originally planned but happened given how Beasley started that game shooting (he had 16 points).
Beasley, who is averaging 32.2 minutes per game, said he would prefer long stints of action with fewer breaks given that he feels he is in good enough shape to handle longer stretches of play.
"I'm a rhythm guy, and I like to run the floor and I score in spurts," Beasley said. "If you watch my game, I can score for a two-minute span or a three-minute span, so sometimes you've got to just let me ride it out to get that two or three minutes."
Beasley said that allows him time to adjust to how teams are defending him.
"Now guys are starting to double team and put a little bit more pressure on me," Beasley said. "So I've got to see what they're doing in the first three minutes. I like to read and see what they're doing so I can get my teammates involved."
Saunders said it was "natural" for someone like Beasley to want to play as many minutes as possible.
"I got a roster full of guys who want to play 48 minutes a game …" Saunders said. "He's been doing everything that's asked of him. It's natural for guys to want more and I think that's a good thing. You don't want guys to be coming out and saying, "Oh man, I just want to play less" or "I don't want to be doing this."
Saunders said he wasn't sure if Beasley would playing around 37 minutes a night, however. A heavy-minutes workload like that depends on the schedule and how the flow of the game is going.
"Games come quickly here," Saunders said. "Back-to-backs, coming into travel, you take a look at everything. … The plan wasn't for Malik to play the first 14½ minutes of the game, but the way he was shooting the ball, the way he was moving, it calls for that. The game told us what to do there."
Change in the lineup
Saunders made an adjustment to Sunday's starting lineup against Toronto, with Jarred Vanderbilt taking Josh Okogie's place. This marked the 14th starting lineup the Wolves have deployed in 27 games. It marked Vanderbilt's eighth start of the season.