MINNEAPOLIS — The Timberwolves practiced Monday before heading out on a one-game trip to Detroit, where they play Tuesday night. In a trick of the schedule, the Pistons are the last team the Timberwolves have not played yet this season, and they’ll face them again just more than a week later, on April 6.
Those two Detroit games, along with one against Toronto on April 5, present the easiest chances for the team to accrue a few more wins going forward. Home games against the Suns and Jazz the last week of the season should also be perfectly winnable, and game no. 82 in San Antonio might also be a possible win if Gregg Popovich decides to rest his starters, which he’s wont to do. (The game is not on national TV, so the Spurs coach can safely assume that if he does so, David Stern will not take away his home or his car.)
That number doesn’t necessarily matter — the team will finish the season with 30 or fewer wins, most likely — but five more wins will get Rick Adelman his 1,000th career victory, which at the beginning of the season seemed like it would be a foregone conclusion. It may be an arbitrary milestone, but it would be nice to see Adelman get there this year.
But first and foremost, the Pistons: They just snapped a 10-game losing streak by beating none other than the Bobcats, so this is not exactly going to be the most insurmountable of challenges. That said, the Timberwolves need to treat it as such, even if they’re getting healthy. Sunday’s game was a prime example of this, and the team needs to better learn to set the tone for games and assert itself, especially on the road.
Luke Ridnour, human mismatch: After the point guard posing as a shooting guard got completely manhandled by the Bulls — through no fault of his own besides genetics and the team’s rotation — talk on Monday centered on the guard’s size and his mismatches. Coach Rick Adelman admitted that he’s never in his long career started a player of Ridnour’s size at shooting guard for this amount of time, and he obviously feels a bit bad about the matchups he’s forced upon him.
That said, Ridnour is hardly one to complain, and Adelman admitted that letting Ridnour play point would be difficult given the team’s current lineup shortcomings. Ridnour hasn’t played his natural position since Ricky Rubio’s return, but he has remained in the starting lineup, and Adelman conceded that in order for this team to move to the next level, it’ll need an appropriately sized shooting guard.