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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-11-14

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-11-14

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-11-14Timberwolves star forward Al Jefferson left the team for two weekend games to be in Florida with his grandmother, who passed away not long after he arrived on Thursday. Before he went -- due to return to the team on Monday -- he was introspective and expansive in an address to media members about the fifth young team he has been on in his six NBA seasons, another one that looks destined to lose 58 games or more after its 1-9 start.

Jefferson's teams have lost that many games or more in each of his previous three seasons in Minnesota and Boston.

"This isn't going to get any better unless we start attacking and hitting back," he said. "One thing about dealing with a young team, when your head is down, it's hard to pick it back up. Right now, we let teams hit us and we don't even hit back. Most times somebody hits you, you're supposed to hit back.

"We have to dig inside of us, in our hearts. Believe it or not, this still is the best job in the world. Even when you're going through things we're going through now, we got to make the best of this, man, because the NBA career is like dog years. They go by so fast. Here I am 24, six years in. I look up and I'll be 30 on my way out."

Jefferson knows a lot about young, losing teams in that six-year NBA career. The only time he has reached the playoffs was in his rookie year in Boston.

"Five out of six years in the league, young has always been a problem," he said. "Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody puts too much pressure on themselves. Everybody thinks the coach is riding them. Everybody's frustrated with themselves, myself included."

Just like coach Kurt Rambis does, Jefferson says patience is the thing most required.

"I used to think that patience was just the right thing to say, but it's really going to take some time," Jefferson said. "It really is. Look at where Portland was three years ago: They were where we were. We got to understand that. We've got young players, a new system we're trying to learn. That's not an excuse for not playing hard. Myself, I was thinking, 'Yeah, OK, I'm back. My knee's good. I'm going to pick right up where I left off.'

"That's not the case. I talk to other guys who had this surgery. It takes a year to get back to where you were. I'm not patient with that. I feel if I'm not bringing 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) every night, I'm not doing my job. I just have to realize that 20 years ago, this was a career-ending injury. I worked (hard) to get back to where I am right now and I got to continue to work to get to where I was when I got hurt, and even better."

Jefferson's teams the last five seasons are 104-234. Somebody asked him how many dog years in the NBA that is.

"I can't do the math right now," he said. "A lot."

MAVERICKS 89, WOLVES 77: The Wolves lost their ninth consecutive game after a season-opening victory.

This time, they played for the first time without both Kevin Love and Al Jefferson. Love has not played yet this regular season because of a left hand he fractured in preseason play and Jefferson is away from the team for two games because his grandmother -- Annie Bell Randolph, 83 -- died in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday.

The Mavericks used a 13-2 run to break open a game tied at 31 in the second quarter. Dirk Nowitzki's 20-point, 11-rebound double-double lead a Dallas team that beat the Wolves for the 13th consecutive time. The Wolves had four players in double figures, but nobody with more than Jonny Flynn's 11.

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Added: November 14, 2009


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