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Timberwolves focus on fundamentals, simplified offense

Ray Richardson, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. –

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has spent so much time working on fundamentals with the team – specifically, ballhandling and defense – that he likely will go into Monday night’s season opener against Oklahoma City at Target Center with a limited offense.

Adelman said most of his offense has yet to be introduced to the players.

“We’ve held back a little on putting some things in,” Adelman said after Saturday morning’s practice. “It’s a matter of executing what we have in now. We’re still turning the ball over a lot. Sometimes we’re better off just shooting the ball and seeing if we can rebound it.”

Adelman was hesitant to identify a starting lineup for Monday’s game or his rotations behind the starters. He mentioned, however, that “it’s no secret” who might start.

If Adelman maintains the lineup that started the two exhibition games against Milwaukee, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley will be at the forward spots, with Darko Milicic in the middle and Wesley Johnson and Luke Ridnour in the backcourt.

“I haven’t talked much with my staff about rotations off the bench,” Adelman said. “A lot of that depends on Oklahoma City. They’ve got some weapons. We might have to change things.”

Holiday off: The Wolves will be off today. Adelman made plans to fly home to Portland after Saturday practice to spend the holiday with his family.

The Wolves will have a shootaround workout Monday morning to prepare for the opener.

Rubio radar: Rookie guard

Ricky Rubio stayed late after practice to go through a physical drill with assistant coach Bill Bayno.

Bayno wore huge pads on both arms and used them to bump and push Rubio as he made drives to the basket.

The idea is to prepare Rubio for the physical play he might experience in the NBA. As Rubio made drives in the lane, Bayno shouted out a countdown as if Rubio were trying to beat the 24-second clock.

Briefly: Backup center Nikola Pekovic missed his fourth day of practice because of a groin injury and will not play Monday. Adelman said Pekovic could be out at least a week before he can resume practicing.

— Point guard J.J. Barea might have given a big advertising boost to Conga, a Puerto Rican restaurant in Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Main area. Barea wrote on his Twitter page Friday night (@jjbareapr) that he had found a “nice Puerto Rican restaurant.”

“I used my GPS system to get there,” said Barea, a native of Puerto Rico. “The food was pretty good.”

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