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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-11-02

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-11-02

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-11-02You don't have to be an officially licensed Zen master to fully understand basketball's triangle offense.

But if the Timberwolves' 1-2 season start is an accurate reflection, they're going to have to stretch themselves before they fully grasp the unorthodox offense that new coach Kurt Rambis has installed.

"We're going to have to expand our games and our minds in order to make this offense work," forward Ryan Gomes said.

They are not nearly there yet, although Game 3 at Phoenix was an improvement after opening home games against New Jersey and Cleveland at Target Center.

"We're still learning how to play," Rambis said.

The offense relies on each player reaching specific spots on the floor to spread the defense. It requires players to read and react with passes to how the defense responds to that spacing rather than relying on traditional set plays.

"We're asking guys to do a lot of things they're not used to doing," Rambis said. "A lot of it is learning to play together. You really have to give of yourself to make it work."

In the Wolves' opener, no Minnesota player had more two assists. In their second game, nobody had more than three. In those two games, the team also made just 4 of 21 three-pointers.

In their third game, Sunday at Phoenix, they made 5 of 11 threes and had four players with four assists.

That's the first time they've had more total assists (24) in a game this season than Suns guard Steve Nash had by himself Friday against Golden State (20).

That's also what Rambis calls progress. The Wolves got there by flip-flopping playing time at point guard. Backup Ramon Sessions played 31 minutes (9 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover), while rookie starter Jonny Flynn played fewer than 19 (11 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers).

Afterward, Rambis called Sessions' "organization" of the team's offense "exceptional."

"It's not easy. It's going to take a lot," Sessions said about learning the triangle passing offense. "Game by game, I'm getting more comfortable out there. Just trying to run a team. It's a different type of basketball. There's only one team that runs it -- a veteran team like the Lakers -- and that's for a reason. It's coming along game by game."

SUNS 120, WOLVES 112: The Suns remained unbeaten in three games while the Wolves fell to 1-2 on a night when Phoenix made 14 three-pointers, six of them by starting center Channing Frye.

The Suns used a 9-0 run featuring three threes -- two by Frye, one by Steve Nash -- to build a 14-point lead late in the third quarter that grew to as many as 17 by early in the fourth.

The Wolves pulled within five with three minutes left but couldn't get any closer on a night when Al Jefferson showed visions of his old self (21 points on 9-for-23 shooting and eight rebounds) in his return from February knee surgery and when Corey Brewer scored a career-high 19 points.

Ryan Gomes had a 23-point, 15-rebound double-double on the same night when he was moved from power forward to small forward in the starting lineup.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 2, 2009


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