The Timberwolves officially came home from Europe Tuesday night and played their first preseason game at Target Center, a meeting with a Denver team that was missing Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and Al Harrington.

Before the game, Kurt Rambis admitted he has only installed a small portion of his offense for a vastly remade roster that's still trying to grasp the basics of his triangle-based system.

After the game, he admitted that the team didn't run that offense with any real crispness.

And they scored 122 on a night when their defense -- including a 13-4 edge in blocked shots (when was the last time you said that about a Wolves team) -- looked better than the offense.

"Just imagine when the offense gets crisp," Michael Beasley said. "We're going to score a million points a night."

That defense held the Nuggets to 41.9 percent shooting and "limited" Carmelo Anthony to 19 points on 2 for 9 shooting (he did make 15 of 16 at the line, where Denver attempted 56 free throws to the Wolves' 38).

In all three preseason games, the Wolves have held their opponents to less than 45 percent shooting.

That's a goal Rambis has set for every night this season.

"We're going to win a lot of games if we continue to do that," he said.

Some other stuff from tonight:

* After averaging 20.5 points in the first two games, Martell Webster didn't find his scoring touch until the fourth quarter, when he scored nine of his 12 points. Didn't matter all that much because he made his impact on the game with three blocked shots before halftime, the first two of them explosive, soaring blocks from behind J.R. Smith on attempted layups.

"I'm not one dimensional," Webster said. "I finally get to showcase to myself -- to myself, not to anybody else -- what I am able to do."

* You can see how much the Wolves upgraded their talent over the summer with this simple fact: Corey Brewer looked like one of their best players many nights last season -- certainly was their best perimeter player and best athlete -- and now he's just another guy, if that. He is 2 for 17 in three games after going 1 for 4 in less than 11 minutes tonight and if he keeps playing like this, he just might be the odd guy out in a job competition filled with shooting guards and small forwards.

* When asked for his impressions of the Wolves before the game, Denver coach George Karl said the Wolves have a lot of interesting, young players and specifically mentioned, although not my name, rookie wesley Johnson and Nikola Pekovic.

Johnson made three more threes tonight -- he's now eight for 10 on threes in three games -- and it doesn't take long watching him to determine he's this team's best athlete, even with a sore hamstring, and with Beasley and Martell not that far behind.

* Five Wolves players had two or more blocked shots, led by three each from Webster and Darko Milicic

* Seven Wolves made at least one three pointer on a night when they went 11 for 23 and the Nuggets went 5 for 16.

* Beasley has inherited the prime locker spot in the team's Target Center dressing room, the one where Kevin Garnett held court all those years and which Al Jefferson later took over.

Beasley sounded a bit in awe when I told him his corner locker was prime Wolves real estate, until Kevin Love, just a locker stall or two over, piped in and told him this:

"That just means you're going to get traded," Love said.

* Good to see George Karl chatting at length with reporters before the game. Official Monty McCutchen stuck his head in the huddle there in the corridor and gave Karl a real heartfelt welcome back wish, to which Karl responded that he still was going to yell at McCutchen that night.

He was popping vitamins as he talked about his return to the Nuggets, the Wolves, Carmelo Anthony's situation and the end of pal Don Nelson's coaching career after his season a year ago was ended last March because of his battle with throat cancer.

Well, that's it for tonight.

Got a morning flight to Indianapolis for tomorrow night's (Wednesday night) game there.

Blog with you from Indy.



Yes, it's only preseason, but...

Here are the NBA categories the Wolves are at the top of -- or nearly so -- after their first three games:

1st            Scoring                    113.0 ppg

                  Three-point %        .531

2nd           Scoring margin       +13.0

                  Assists                      23.7

                  Blocks                       7.3

3rd            Rebound %             .539

4th            Turnovers forced    22.3