If you asked Minnesota Timberwolves Coach Rick Adelman about Saturday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors 104-97, he’s going to give you an honest answer— an extremely honest answer.
“Like I told ‘em afterwards, we’ve played two home games here and we act like we’re just going through the motions,” he said.
When he was asked about the Wolves shooting? “Awful,” Adelman said.And our defense, or lack thereof. “We just didn’t defend the team very well,” Adelman said.
Adelman said the only positive that came out of the game was that it gives the players a lot to look at on video.
“We just didn’t come with it,” he said. “I don’t understand.”
But Adelman’s blunt honesty seemed to be settling in with some of the players. Because point guard Ricky Rubio was listening.
“We started the game in the wrong way,” he said. “We didn’t have energy. Part of that is my fault. I take the blame on that.”
Toronto scored 11 of the first 15 points, which is never a good way to start a game. As Adelman pointed out that this team does not have the talent to start slow then pick up the pace later.
Kevin Love was the only real offensive weapon. He scored 28 points and added 11 rebounds. But he was 2 for 8 from the field in the first eight minutes as the Raptors took the lead early and never looked back.
This was the same Raptors team who the Wolves beat by 12 points in Wednesday in Toronto.
So what happened to the Wolves? Love said it best, “Our first unit is just flat,”
Flat indeed, the Wolves shot 36.4 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-point range, staying close only because they made 35 of 50 free throws. Love hit 9 of 19 shots, Nikola Pekovic made 5 of 7 and Corey Brewer 4 of 10. And the rest of the team made 10 of 41 shots.
In addition to this all around bad game, the Wolves matched their 16 assists with 16 turnovers.
“That isn’t going to cut it,” Adelman said.
The Wolves have eight days till they play again, and making sure this type of game doesn’t repeat hangs heavy over the team. But it’s up to the players to figure out how to make that happen, according to Adelman. But just watching video and looking at statistics alone won’t fix what broke on Sunday.
“Unless they react in the right way and understand that they’ve got a lot of work to do, it’s not going to hit home,” Adelman said. “I just told them: ‘What kind of a year do you want?”
Knowing what that having a good preseason is the key to a good season Kevin Love added,
“We don’t have the luxury to be a team that can fight from behind,” he said. “We’re talented enough and we can score, but if we’re going to win a big amount of basketball games, we need to have better starts.
“Overall, we just need to play harder.”