For the first time since January 13, the Wolves had a practice Friday.
Wanting to save his players’ legs, and with the Wolves scheduled to play in their 19th game in 34 days Saturday against New Orleans, coach Tom Thibodeau had the team watch film and do some shooting. This stretch of not being able to practice – unprecedented in Thibodeau’s experience – ends after Saturday’s game, when the Wolves will have three days off before their game in Cleveland Wednesday.
“That’s just what we had to deal with,’’ Thibodeau said. “So we dealt with it in a way in which we thought would be most effective.’’
With so much travel and a league-high 17 games in January, the Wolves had to be creative in how they stayed sharp. That meant a lot of film review, a lot of work in shootarounds and even a lot of work in hotel ballrooms, with the floor taped off to resemble a basketball court.
“You have your film session and you talk about the things you have to correct,’’ Thibodeau said. “Obviously you can’t put speed on it or anything like that. But that’s what you have to do. And you build that habit of concentration, when it’s necessary to make your corrections there. Over the course of the season, that’s a big part of it.’’
The Pelicans will be playing on the back end of back-to-back games Saturday. But it will be their first game, mostly likely, with big man Nikola Mirotic, acquired from Chicago in trade. The Mirotic deal came in the wake of the devastating Achilles' heel suffered by All Star DeMarcus Cousins.
Thibodeau said guard Jimmy Butler was in bereavement leave Friday, but will be ready for Saturday’s game.