DENVER — The Timberwolves played the second half of their first two-game set of the season Tuesday, Jan. 5, in Denver, two days after they hosted the Nuggets at Target Center.
It’s the first of six such situations where the Wolves will play the same team in two consecutive games. Next week, a four-game home-stand will feature two straight games against San Antonio followed by two games against the Memphis Grizzlies — hello, Tre and Tyus Jones.
It’s the second game that’s always more interesting in the two-game sets. That’s where a matchup starts to generate playoff-like vibes, with coaches and players making adjustments off of the previous contest.
While preparing for a normal game, Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said you might watch five games of the upcoming opponent. But, in between Sunday and Tuesday’s games against Denver, he really only had to dive deeply into Sunday’s loss — which easily presented the most relevant film study.
“You look at, on the film, how they were playing certain actions, but then you also expect the actions that worked, you try to anticipate their adjustments they may make,” Saunders said. “And then vice versa for us, on the defensive end things we struggled with they’ll anticipate what we are looking to adjust because it has been so quick.”
Saunders said playing consecutive games against the same opponent provides “a good challenge for our group, and a good test, especially for our young guys.”
“We talked (Tuesday) morning about how for those of us who have participated in a playoff series, this is what the playoffs are like,” Saunders said. “So it’s a good test and a good introduction into that for these guys’ careers.”
Okogie return imminent
One member of the starting lineup may soon be returning to action for the Timberwolves.
No, not Karl-Anthony Towns, but Josh Okogie could be in the rotation again as soon as Minnesota’s game Thursday in Portland.
Saunders said Okogie participated in Monday’s practice and Tuesday’s shootaround. Though Okogie missed Tuesday’s contest in Denver — his fourth straight missed game due to a strained hamstring — Saunders said Okogie is “progressing nicely.”
Ed Davis, who was inserted into Minnesota’s starting lineup Sunday, has given Minnesota a needed lift both defensively and on the offensive glass.
One area where he’s struggled — scoring at the rim. Davis was 3 for 14 on shots — 21 percent — from in the restricted area entering Tuesday’s game. That’s the second-worst percentage in the NBA among players with 10 or more attempts from in close, ahead of only Detroit rookie guard Saddiq Bey, who is 2 for 10.