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News » TIMBERWOLVES 117, BUCKS 103 A listless effort from the get-go Skiles not happy with team's play

TIMBERWOLVES 117, BUCKS 103 A listless effort from the get-go Skiles not happy with team's play

TIMBERWOLVES 117, BUCKS 103  A listless effort from the get-go  Skiles not happy with team's play By CHARLES F. GARDNER

Mankato, Minn. - A serious energy shortage put the Milwaukee Bucks on low power in their preseason opener Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

And the result was a 117-103 defeat that left a sour taste for Bucks coach Scott Skiles.

Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love dominated inside with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and center Al Jefferson added 14 points in just 16 first-half minutes at Bresnan Arena on the Minnesota State University campus.

"We had a lot of lazy fouling, and our defense was very poor," Skiles said. "We're thankful they got Al out of there. If he and Love would have played most of the time, we probably would have got beat by 50.

"We weren't sharp in really any area. We didn't shoot it well enough; our ball movement wasn't good enough. They threw us around on the glass, and we had no answers for how physical they were. Just all the way around, not near a good enough effort."

Power forward Hakim Warrick made his Bucks debut a solid one, leading the team with 24 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench. He sank six of eight shots from the field and 12 of 15 free throws.

"We felt (Luke) Ridnour and (Michael) Redd both had energy in our starting lineup, and that's about it," Skiles said. "Hak (Warrick) came in and gave us something, of course, but hardly anybody else did.

"You have these nights sometimes, but better to get them out of the way now. We've been playing so hard, and to just come in here and lay an egg like that, it's pretty disappointing."

The game was marked by plenty of stoppages as replacement referees Scott Bolnick, Marcus Clayton and C.J. Washington whistled 73 fouls, including 41 on the Bucks .

"I don't think that had much to do with it," Skiles said. "I think a huge percentage of our fouls were legitimate."

Minnesota attempted 56 free throws and sank 50 for a conversion rate of 89%, while the Bucks were 26 of 38 at the line.

"It was a struggle," Warrick said. "They did a good job of calling it both ways. There were a lot of fouls. We've got to be able to play without fouling, and we didn't do that tonight."

The game marked the NBA debuts of point guards Brandon Jennings of the Bucks and Jonny Flynn of the Timberwolves. They were workout partners numerous times prior to the June draft, and both were taken within the first 10 picks, Flynn with the sixth overall selection and Jennings at No. 10.

"It was cool getting to play against another team," said Jennings, who finished with 14 points and five assists while playing 28 minutes.

"I was just trying to find my comfort zone at first, just being passive. The second half I tried to pick it up and play a little bit."

Flynn had an odd stat line, going 0 for 5 from the field but 14 of 15 at the foul line and adding seven assists.

Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said both players were merely taking the first step on Sunday.

"I'm assuming for both of them the entire year is going to be a learning process, if not significantly longer," Rambis said. "They have a lot to learn about just being in the NBA, maturing, growing, gaining knowledge and experience.

"Learning how to play at this level against the quality of players they will be playing with and against, is unlike anything they have ever seen before. And they're both trying to learn the toughest position in the NBA."

Former Bucks guard Ramon Sessions faced his old teammates for the first time and contributed nine points, six rebounds and four assists, while also committing six turnovers.

The Bucks trailed, 56-44, at halftime and never made a serious run in the second half.

"We've just got to pick it up, all of us," said Ridnour, who had 10 points and five assists. "We've got to focus on getting our defensive stuff down.

"It's a good thing it's the first preseason game. We've got this month to get better. We're picking up the plays we're trying to run, but we just have to pick up our effort and intensity. It's finding ways to compete night in and night out. That's what you have to do."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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Added: October 6, 2009


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