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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-11-30

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-11-30

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-11-30
Fifteen games into the NBA career of rookie Kevin Love, and the kid has a seal of approval from Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman.

"Making progress," Wittman said, nodding as if to give that approval. "He's had a tough streak of getting easy baskets (to) go in, which is sometimes hard to handle. But I think he's fighting through that. He's doing all the other things."

Love has come off the Wolves bench in seven straight games after starting the previous four. He scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting Friday night in Oklahoma City, but he scored just five points on 0-for-5 shooting in the two games prior.

"Just OK," Love said of his NBA career so far. "My first two shots (against Oklahoma City) rolled in and out of the rim. That's just been the ongoing theme for me early this season. But there's still a lot of games left to be played. This first month is just coming to a close now."

Following training camp, Love said one of the biggest adjustments was the pace of the pro game and the shot clock, which is 11 seconds quicker in the NBA than it is in college games.

Adapting to that has gotten better, he said. But overall?

"Not to where I'd like to be," Love said. "But I think it's fair to say I'm definitely learning. The more that I get comfortable with the coaching staff, the players around me and the game itself, I'll just keep getting better."

Entering Saturday, Love was 15th in the league in rookie scoring, averaging 7.9 points per game. O.J. Mayo, whom the Wolves drafted but traded to Memphis in part for Love's rights, leads NBA rookies with 21.4 points per game.

Saturday against Denver, Love recorded his first career double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

NUGGETS 106, WOLVES 97: The difference in the game was Denver's aggressiveness on the court and little of it from the Timberwolves.

Denver converted on 26 of 33 free throws. Minnesota attempted just 10. The Wolves made four more field goals than the Nuggets.

"It's something we have to learn to play through," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "Against a team like them -- who's aggressive and runs and jumps and traps -- we just kind of fell into their trap a little bit. We settled for jump shots a little bit."

The lack of getting to the free-throw line overshadowed a solid effort by rookie Kevin Love. In 29 minutes off the bench, Love scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Too bad there was more talk of power forward Al Jefferson being double-teamed, which led Wittman to feel that Minnesota had plenty of missed opportunities to penetrate to the basket. Instead, that was Denver's key to victory.

Chauncey Billups, the former Timberwolf traded to Denver on Nov. 3, was perfect from the free-throw line, accounting for 12 of his game-high 27 points. That eclipsed his previous season high by one. He scored 26 points against Minnesota in Denver on Nov. 16.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2008


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