MILWAUKEE - Minnesota Timberwolves centre Nikola Pekovic has been limited by ankle problems in his four-year NBA career, prompting the coaching staff to cap his minutes this season in an effort to keep him healthy.Pekovic responded with a highly effective effort Wednesday night, finishing in 15 points and 13 rebounds in a little more than 19 minutes in Minnesotas 110-91 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.I work in the summer, but it is not the same if you dont have games, Pekovic said. I know my body is little slow to start. I need a little time to catch up. Thats the point of the pre-season. I hadnt played a game in so long. I hope this progress will continue.Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said Pekovic has improved as the preseason has progressed.He gives you an ability to score down low. I thought tonight he also showed pretty good rebounding, he said.Shabazz Muhammad had 19 points and Chase Budinger 15 for the Timberwolves, who started the game on a 12-1 run and never trailed.The Timberwolves (4-2) opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run to build a 16-point lead. Milwaukee cut it to nine twice early in the fourth, but Minnesota went up by as many as 23 .Rookie Jabari Parker led Milwaukee with 18 points, including 12 in the second quarter.It was better that we had this game today than in the regular season, Parker said. It was not what we wanted but we will look at what we can improve on. Today was a downfall but were going to be all right.Nate Wolters added 14 for the Bucks, who finished the preseason 3-4.As a whole I thought we did a lot of good things but we still have a long ways to go, Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said of his teams overall performance.Wednesdays game was the second matchup in less than a week between Minnesota and Milwaukee. The Bucks beat the Timberwolves 105-98 on Friday night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.TIP-INSTimberwolves: Five players sat out, including Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Coach Flip Saunders said Wiggins hit his head on the court and bruised his backside in Sundays game against Oklahoma City. Were trying to be cautious, Saunders said. ... Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin, Ronny Turiaf and Mo Williams also did not play.Bucks: Point guard Brandon Knight returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a right groin injury. He had one point. ... Ersan Ilyasova, who missed two games with a strained right knee, also saw action, tallying 11 points and five rebounds. ... Zaza Pachulia didnt play due to a sore left hamstring. Larry Sanders remained sidelined after undergoing an unspecified outpatient medical procedure.BY THE NUMBERSTimberwolves: Minnesota committed 16 turnovers, leading to 16 points for Milwaukee.Bucks: Milwaukee committed 23 turnovers, which led to 25 Timberwolves points. We had more turnovers than assists, Kidd said. Youre not going to beat anybody when you have that. Weve got to take away the silly turnovers. We have to make sure we secure the ball.LONG-RANGE PLANSSaunders made his players shoot 100 three-point shots each from various spots on the court at a recent practice. The players had to make a certain percentage in order to earn the right to shoot threes in game action. My main thing is that just because you are open, sometimes there is a reason, Saunders said. We want our guys to understand whats a good shot and what isnt a good shot.TECHNICALLY SPEAKINGMilwaukees Giannia Antetokounmpo and Minnesotas Muhammad tangled on consecutive Timberwolves possessions. Double technical fouls were assessed after the second brief skirmish.UP NEXTMilwaukee travels to Charlotte to open the regular season Oct. 29.Minnesota closes out the preseason against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night in St. Louis. Gump Worsley Jersey
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