Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –
MINNEAPOLIS — Considering that the Wolves posted season lows in points in the second quarter, first half and for the game in Wednesday’s 85-80 loss in Memphis, there isn’t much of a silver lining to be found. But the play of point guard J.J. Barea comes close.
Barea was one of five reserves that coach Rick Adelman — upset with the pace of the game — put on the court for the entire fourth quarter.
Barea ended with a season highs in points (17), assists (six) and steals (two).
“He played aggressively, and he played well,” Adelman said.
Barea, who has battled a hamstring injury much of the season, has played in five consecutive games since his most recent return, all off the bench. He has scored in double figures twice and has three or more assists in those five games. Barea also hit on three of six three-pointers against the Grizzlies.
All are signs the hamstring injury is in the past. But Barea said getting into top shape is a work in progress.
“It’s getting there, but that will still take some time,” he said. “And I’m still getting used to a system 1/8on offense3/8 that is new to me. But I’m going to keep being aggressive and playing my game.”
Wes Johnson still is searching for his long-range shot, a process that has become frustrating for both him and fans who would like to see a change in the starting lineup.
But Adelman said Johnson’s defensive abilities are keeping him in the starting five.
“He’s done a rally good job for us defensively,” Adelman said. “We put him on good players and he gives us options.”
Johnson might be the best option the Wolves have to defend offensively talented shooting guards or small forwards. Especially when Adelman is going with Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour as his starting guards.
“If they have a bigger guard, we can slide Wes over there,” Adelman said. “And he has rebounded well at times too. There are other ways to affect a game other than scoring.”