MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves can't win by a little so far this season, but they sure can win by a lot.
The Wolves' 104-103 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night was yet another victory that got away -- at least the fourth in three weeks against a team they're chasing for playoff spots in the Western Conference -- and it caused all kinds of consternation in its aftermath.
On Thursday, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman had a sit-down with veteran reserves J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham in which both players admitted the error of their ways. Love got a lecture about airing private team matters publicly.
"In this age, you have to figure out how you say it because it's going to be there forever," Adelman said before the game. "We dealt with it and talked about it. Now we just trying to figure out how to win a game tonight."
The Timberwolves did so with a 39-20 second quarter and a 27-22 third quarter in which Pekovic scored 15 of 26 points before he and every starter other than Love sat down for the entire fourth quarter.
On Friday morning, Bobcats center Al Jefferson called Pekovic a "beast" and Pekovic proved Jefferson right by scoring at will around the basket on a night when he outscored Charlotte's undersized center 26-8.
NOTES: Charlotte second-year F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to return on Tuesday night for a game against the New York Knicks, six weeks after he fractured a hand. He practiced the last two days. "He'd like to play tonight, but Tuesday will be six weeks, which gives us the most confidence that he'd be fully healed," coach Steve Clifford said. ... Timberwolves F Chase Budinger played in his second game back from October knee surgery, the second on his torn meniscus in 11 months. He's on an 18-minute limit for his first two weeks back. ... Budinger's return makes the Wolves completely healthy for the first time since March 3, 2012, in Rick Adelman's first season as Timberwolves coach. ... Former Wolves star Al Jefferson returned to Target Center for the first time since he left Utah and signed as a free agent with the Bobcats last summer. ... Timberwolves little-used rookie Shabazz Muhammad was named to the NBA Developmental League's Reno Showcase all-tournament team after averaging 23 points and nine rebounds in two games while on a four-game assignment to the Iowa Energy. "He's doing a good job," Adelman said. "He's aggressive, getting a chance to play, getting some confidence. It's going to be good having him down there."