Wessel: Wolves must continue to wait to see starting five together
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Three games into the preseason the Minnesota Timberwolves are still waiting to see how their starting five will perform together.
On Friday night, with Andrei Kirilenko already sitting out, coach Rick Adelman limited Brandon Roy and Kevin Love to just the first quarter in order to have their legs fresh and rested for Saturday's game against the Chicago Bulls at Target Center.
The plan was to give the three some extended run together in front of the home crowd.
But that plan went up in smoke when Kirilenko (hamstring) and Love (elbow) were late scratches in a game the Wolves won, 82-75.
Luke Ridnour returned Saturday after missing the first two games of the preseason because of back spasms. That means the Wolves have yet to get their projected starting five on the court together.
"We have the (four games) left, and we have to find out about these guys and find out how they're going to play together," Adelman said.
Neither Love nor Kirilenko is expected to miss much time. Love claims he simply slept on his arm wrong. One reporter joked that the two veterans were sitting out because of "general disinterest."
But it is important that Love and the two newcomers build up some on-court chemistry before the Nov. 2 season opener against the Sacramento Kings.
"Four games is plenty (to develop chemistry)," Roy said. "But you do still want to get your rhythm. But again, that is the NBA. Some nights some guys can't play but you have to step in and fill in."
The roster is full of new players, but Roy and Kirilenko are the two most valuable chips that Wolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn added during the offseason.
The announced crowd of 12,251 saw just how important those three will be to the Wolves this season during the first three quarters.
Roy and the rest of the Wolves put together a mostly disjointed effort during the first 36 minutes -- shooting only 29.4 percent -- before eventually pulling away in the fourth. Adelman called the early effort by the Wolves uninspiring before they eventually buckled down. Alexey Shved, another newcomer, scored 12 of his 15 points in the quarter.
The Wolves will return to the court Tuesday to play an exhibition game against Maccabi Bazan Haifa of the Israeli Basketball Super League. The Wolves hope their starting five will be able to go in that game.
"We got some more games to get guys healthy," Roy said. "The good thing about it is that we don't have any major injuries right now, just some minor nicks. So we can afford to rest guys.
"This is the time of year that if you have the opportunity to rest a guy like Kevin or a guy like AK then you do it. We got some more games coming up."