Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Clippers
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Interim head coach Terry Porter addressed the media today at shootaround about the possibility of raising Ricky Rubio’s minutes. In the process of easing Rubio back from major knee surgery, his playing time has been tempered.
“We have had that discussion,” Porter said of Rubio’s minutes increasing. “I think they’re going to go up to the range of 26-28 [minutes], see how it goes. It has gone up, so that’s good.
“In general, we’ve talked about finding some different things in our lineup. That’s one of them, in regards to his minutes increasing.”
Rubio was wearing a white jersey during shootaround this morning, prompting questions about whether or not he will be in the starting lineup tonight against the Clippers. Porter did not say one way or another if Rubio might get his first start of the season, but he did verify that his minutes could increase tonight. When he returned a month ago, he was at an 18-minute limit.
Facing the Clippers Without Paul
Chris Paul, the Clippers’ All-Star point guard, is questionable for tonight’s game with a bruised knee. Los Angeles’ style tends to change when Paul leaves the game, Porter said.
“They’re a different team with Chris Paul,” Porter said. “The pick-and-roll is totally different; he runs the show. The game goes at the pace he wants it to go offensively. With [Eric] Bledsoe, it seems to be more up tempo. He really tries to get into the paint and attack the rim.”
Porter went on to address what the Wolves need to do against Los Angeles tonight in order to succeed.
“They’ve added Grant Hill now to the picture,” Porter said. “They’ve played extremely well, they’re very confident, and for us it’s about our transition D. The number one thing we focus on in this game is going to tell very early. If it’s a scenario like it was in Dallas, it’s not going to be a good sign. It’s going to be a long night.”
Wolves’ Health Update
After missing practice time due to illness, Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Lazar Hayward all participated in today’s shootaround and are planning on being in uniform tonight.
“I feel okay,” Kirilenko said with a smile. “It was just a little something. It was no flu, though.”
He also went on to address some of the team’s issues defensively.
“There are a lot of factors,” Kirilenko said of the team’s recent struggles. “We can’t let it get under our skin; we have to keep working on it and concentrate on the mistakes we are doing. Some of the games we have great stretches, then for 5, 8, 10 minutes we are completely out of rhythm. The other teams jump on our back and then destroy our defense.”
For a fast and athletic team like Los Angeles, it’s crucial to keep up with their fast breaks, according to the veteran forward.
“The biggest point for us is really getting back after turnovers and missed shots,” Kirilenko added. “The other team is killing us by getting those layups. When it’s a fast break, fast transition game, it’s been frustrating.”
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.