Late run lifts Wolves to another win over Bucks, perfect preseason
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Rick Adelman made good on his promise to give the Minnesota Timberwolves' bench a look in Wednesday's 85-84 exhibition win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
But it was the Wolves' starters who stole the late victory at the Bradley Center.
The Wolves trailed by nine late in the fourth quarter before making a game of it in the final minutes, thanks to a Kevin Love 3-pointer, a timely Bucks turnover and Michael Beasley hitting two clutch free throws to take the lead with 9.1 seconds left.
The Wolves ended the game with a 12-0 run. A 19-footer by former Wisconsin Badger Jon Leuer was no good and the Wolves finished the exhibition season with a perfect 2-0 record.
This was the second and final game of the truncated preseason schedule and Adelman's last chance to get a look at his players in action before Monday's regular season-opener.
The known commodities -- Love, Beasley, Ridnour -- still got significant run, each finishing with the three highest minutes totals for the team. Love scored 10 of the Wolves' final 12 points to finish with 22 and 16 rebounds.
But the focus of the game was -- as it should have been -- on the young players.
Adelman played Lee 24 minutes -- by far the most of the bench players -- and the rookie from UCLA showed a few flashes in an up-and-down game. He ended with nine points, five assists and four rebounds but also threw away four turnovers.
Veteran Bonzi Wells had his last chance to prove to Adelman -- or any other coach for that matter -- he still belongs in this league. Wells is the only guy on the 16-man roster without a guaranteed contract and the Wolves have to be down to 15 before the regular season begins.
The 12-year NBA veteran didn't exactly put a great game on tape. In 16 minutes, he scored two points on just 1-of-4 shooting, grabbing four rebounds and dishing an assist in the process and will likely be asked to bring his playbook to Adelman's office for a meeting before the holidays.
Top draft pick Derrick Williams played 14 minutes, scored four points on 2-of-4 shooting and grabbed three rebounds. He also gave away the ball three times.
Anthony Randolph didn't do a lot to prove to Adelman he belongs in the rotation, scoring four points in 16 minutes and finishing with three rebounds and turnovers.
It was a largely uninspired performance by two teams that were focused more on getting different groups looks than they were gunning for a victory that would mean absolutely nothing.
Much of the fourth quarter was spent trading baskets before the Wolves made their big run.
• Rubio missed the game because of a nagging ankle sprain. He rolled his ankle and left the court in last Saturday's preseason win over the Bucks but eventually returned to action. He said he woke up Sunday and felt pain and was held out of practice Monday and Tuesday. He didn't practice but he did go through conditioning with his teammates afterwards with the media watching. Rubio has consistently been the last player out of the gym at practice and that didn't stop because of the injury. He shot 3-pointers from all angles without showing any signs of pain.
• Barea stayed back in Minnesota because of a thigh bruise. He is expected, like Rubio, to return to action on Monday.
• 3: Times the Wolves play the Bucks in two weeks. Wednesday's game was the second half of a home-and-home preseason set with the Bucks and they meet in the regular season on Dec. 27 -- the business end of a back-to-back for the Wolves, who open their regular season the night before.
• 2: Tweets from an excited Rubio during the game, cheering on his team from Minneapolis. He gave Love props for the 3-pointer that cut the deficit to one and celebrated the win after it became official.
• 22: Turnovers for the young Wolves team. Adelman has preached limiting the mistakes and cutting the turnovers, but they gave the Bucks too many extra possessions on Wednesday.
The Wolves returned home late Wednesday night to finish up their abbreviated training camp. The team will continue practicing at their facility, gearing up for the regular season-opener on Monday against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.