The Timberwolves played on — and coached on — in Milwaukee on Tuesday night without Rick Adelman.
While Adelman was away to attend a family funeral, top assistant Terry Porter returned to his hometown and the arena where he coached the Bucks for two seasons from 2003 to 2005 and took Adelman’s place on the bench for a 95-92 loss.
The Bucks made the playoffs in Porter’s first season as an NBA head coach and lost to eventual NBA champion Detroit in the first round.
He was fired after Milwaukee went 30-52 in an injury-riddled second season.
“I have a lot of fond memories about my time here,” Porter said, crediting Bucks owner Herb Kohl and then-GM Larry Harris for giving him the chance. “It was great to be able to come home and coach. We had some fun times and we had some challenging times while I was here, but I enjoyed the experience.”
Adelman went over strategy and player-rotation ideas with Porter and the coaching staff before the team flew to Milwaukee after Monday’s game.
“It’s nice because I’m home,” said Porter, who grew up in Milwaukee. “The circumstances aren’t the best.”
Adelman likely will rejoin the team in time for Friday’s home game against Miami after attending his mother-in-law’s funeral.
Without him, the Wolves surrendered 60 first-half points, committed 25 turnovers and trailed by as many as 20 points in the third quarter and they still had a chance to tie the game at the end.
“Rick is a very calming influence, but that was on us (Tuesday),” Love said. “It had nothing to do with T.P. (Terry Porter) being up there. He kept us calm and collected as well. We’re all out there together. They’re not the ones making plays, not the ones making the turnovers and mistakes. We are.”
NBA Team Report – Minnesota Timberwolves – NOTES, QUOTES
–Wolves rookie Ricky Rubio blew up on Twitter after making his NBA debut against Oklahoma City on Monday night.
It wasn’t that six-point, six-assist, five-rebound, zero-turnover night that sent basketball fans worldwide into something of a frenzy.
It was those made-for-television passing highlights that showed Rubio pushing the fast break at every turn and finding cutting teammates with an imaginative array of bounce passes.
That performance started once again those comparisons to Steve Nash and it inspired even LeBron James to tweet, “Rubio can pass that rock!”
“He really sees the floor obviously, everybody sees that,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “He competes at both ends of the court. We just have to give him a little bit of time to work his way in. It is going to an up-and-down situation for him. All rookies face that.
“He seems to have an awful lot of hype going his way, but I don’t see him buying into that. I just see him as a young man who really wants to learn, really wants to do well and he’s just going to get better.”
–The education of No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams continues.
The Wolves drafted him last summer projecting he will play both forward spots, but so far this shortened season they are asking him to concentrate solely on playing power forward.
He played nearly 24 minutes in his NBA debut, including the entire fourth quarter, and provided 13 points, six rebounds, an assist, a steal and two turnovers in a season-opening loss to Oklahoma City.
Williams had three points and five rebounds in 18-plus minutes in his second pro game, at Milwaukee on Tuesday.
“Derrick surprises you,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “He has got a lot of ability, especially at the ‘four’ spot. He is kind of overwhelmed right now: ‘Defensively, where should I be? Offensively, where should I be?’ That is why we just put him at the ‘four’ spot to just let him come along gradually. He has got a lot of talent. He proved it (against Oklahoma City).”
QUOTE TO NOTE: “All my friends were calling me; I was sleeping because there is big difference. When I woke up, I check Top 10 plays and it was good to see me and Derrick Williams over there.” — Rookie Ricky Rubio, on the time difference between Spain and the American Midwest and his appearance at No. 1 on NBA TV’s Top 10 plays after his NBA debut Monday against Oklahoma City.
NBA Team Report – Minnesota Timberwolves – ROSTER REPORT
–F Kevin Love broke his own franchise records for free throws attempted and made Tuesday in Milwaukee when he went 19-for-24 from the foul line. Those 24 attempts surpassed the 23 he took against Golden State last February and the 23 Tony Campbell shot in a 1990 game against the Clippers. The 19 makes surpassed the 18 he had in that same Golden State game and the 18 Christian Laettner made in a 1993 game against Sacramento. Love went 13-for-15 in the first quarter alone.
–G J.J. Barea had a bad night Tuesday: He made 1-of-9 shots and then injured his hamstring while attempting a lay-up midway through the fourth quarter. He left the game, went to the locker room and did not return. He limped noticeably as he left the locker room after the game.
–G Luke Ridnour, concerned two weeks ago about how the signing of J.J. Barea would affect his playing time, started his second consecutive game on Tuesday and played more than 33 minutes. He was paired with both Barea and Ricky Rubio in small backcourts designed to use two of the team’s three point guards together.
–G J.J. Barea left Tuesday’s game midway through the fourth quarter after injuring his left hamstring muscle. His status for Friday’s home game against Miami is unknown.
–C Nikola Pekovic injured groin muscles in the preseason finale against Milwaukee and is expected to miss the season’s first week.
–G Malcolm Lee did not accompany the team to Milwaukee because of a sore knee.
–G Martell Webster is expected out until early to mid January while he recovers from microdiscectomy surgery perform on Sept. 28. It’s the second such surgery for him within 11 months.
–C Brad Miller is expected out until mid to late January after undergoing microfracture knee surgery in May.
–Point guard Luke Ridnour
–Shooting guard Wes Johnson
–Small forward Michael Beasley
–Power forward Kevin Love
–Center Darko Milicic
–Guard Ricky Rubio
–Guard J.J. Barea
–Forward Derrick Williams
–Forward Anthony Tolliver
–Guard Wayne Ellington
–Forward Anthony Randolph