DETROIT – A day after the Timberwolves missed the third-most three-pointers in NBA history in their Sunday loss to the Nuggets, coach Ryan Saunders had time to digest the film — and he wasn’t all that upset with what he saw.
He liked the looks the Wolves got despite shooting just 6-for-45 and said he was confident they would fall in other games. So if you were wondering if a game like Sunday was going to change the Wolves’ approach when it comes to hoisting threes, think again.
“I feel good about them,” Saunders said before Monday’s game against Detroit, in which they hit 15 of 34 threes (45 percent). “I feel like we’re going to shoot better tonight, and we’ll continue to shoot threes.”
The Wolves were averaging 41 three-point shots per game, third in league entering Monday. It’s the kind of numbers Saunders wants to see from deep, the kind of change he professed to bring about when taking over the coaching role full time.
He may have confidence in his team’s shooting, but after a night like Sunday, do they?
Saunders said he didn’t think a performance like Sunday’s would have a long-term effect on the Wolves’ confidence.
“I’ll say no because I’m generally a positive person,” Saunders said. “We have a positive group in there, too, and a lot of times with players, you don’t necessarily need to tell players to shoot the ball. Players want a coach and people to be encouraging of that. They don’t want somebody to tell them not to shoot the ball.”
Wolves forward Treveon Graham said the Wolves at least were able to garner some positives from the Denver loss, given that they came back from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter to send it to overtime despite their shooting woes.
“If shots aren’t falling, you have to find the other things that you do as a player individually to help the team,” Graham said. “For me that’s being aggressive. Defensively, trying your hardest on defense. Making plays for others.”
The wrong call
The last of those missed threes shouldn’t have registered in the boxscore, according to the NBA’s two-minute officiating report of the game.
After reviewing the game, the league determined that Nuggets center Mason Plumlee made enough contact with Josh Okogie to warrant a foul on Okogie’s left corner three-point attempt as time was expiring in overtime.
There was no call on the play, and Okogie’s missed shot ended the game. When asked if he saw that the report that said Okogie was fouled, Saunders said with a smile: “You look at everything. You said it. I didn’t.”
• The Wolves were again without their top two point guards in Jeff Teague (illness) and Shabazz Napier (strained hamstring). Teague also is requiring stitches that need to heal. Jordan Bell was also out because of a shoulder injury.
• Pistons coach Dwane Casey on what he’s learned coaching former Wolves guard Derrick Rose: “He’s a man’s man. He plays his butt off. Plays hard and I knew that. But he’s very coachable and he wants to be coached and wants to be told the truth and you love that about him, a player who plays hard and he leaves it out there on the floor. Love having him on our team. He sets the tone by example, how hard he plays and the velocity he goes into the paint with.”