Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 2/20/13
MINNEAPOLIS With a 19-31 record and 32 games remaining in their season, the second half will be an uphill battle for the Timberwolves. This is a tired team, an injured team, with 18 of its final 32 games coming against .500 or better teams. It's a long road ahead, but on Wednesday, the Timberwolves were in better spirits than they had been in a long time. Guard J.J. Barea said the All-Star break served the team well, and after a long January and a tough first half of February, some time away may have been just what the group needed. Now, it faces Philadelphia Wednesday night, a team that without center Andrew Bynum has gone 22-29 this season and could be a beatable opponent. "I think this break was awesome for us," Barea said. "Now we've just got to get back together and treat it as a new season." And a new season it may seem like, with small forward Andrei Kirilenko back Wednesday night after missing five games with a strained right quad and Barea back to form after suffering a left mid-foot sprain that kept him limited in the team's final three games before the break. Minnesota is still weeks away from the returns of power forward Kevin Love and swingman Chase Budinger, but gaining Kirilenko and a healthy Barea should make a difference for these Timberwolves. All-Star weekend wrap-up: Guards Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved played in last Friday's Rising Stars Challenge game in Houston, and though Rubio played like his usual flashy self, it was Shved who stole the show at times, pulling off dunks never before seen from him in his NBA career. When asked about the performance, Shved was wary of giving too much credence to his flashy play. That's just the nature of a game like that, one that panders to the crowd and shows no sign of defense. Everyone played well, he said, and when asked to assess the weekend as a whole, Shved's answer was not quite what you'd expect. "A lot of players, a lot of guys playing basketball," Shved said. "We stayed together, talked about basketball and played video games." Kirilenko, when asked whether he'd seen some of Shved's theatrics before, admitted that he had while playing with him in Europe. That said, the veteran had a few choice words about games like those during All-Star weekend. He said that even though no one else does, he'd have played defense if put in such a game. "It's tough to play that way when you know nobody's going to help," Kirilenko said. "But again, it's fun for the fans, and we see a lot of young rising stars." Trade rumors still raging: Guard Luke Ridnour, whose name has been mentioned in trade rumors in the past week, declined to speak to the media after Wednesday's shootaround. As of noon Wednesday, no moves had been made, and Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Timberwolves continue to shop their future first-round picks (of which they most likely have two in June) to acquire established talent. The trade deadline is Thursday at 2 p.m. CT. Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Oregon headed to first Final Four in 78 years as Jordan Bell & Tyler Dorsey dominate Kansas

This is the Gonzaga we’ve been waiting for

Jets won’t rule out selecting another QB in 2017 NFL Draft

Rougned Odor threw a cup of water into Felix Hernandez’s face on the field

Michael Irvin rips Texans for not trading for Tony Romo

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Richard Sherman on trade talk: ‘I just laugh it off, man’

Grumpy writer complains about 'SI for Kids' reporter

Report: Archie Miller closing in on seven-year deal to coach Indiana

Alex Rodriguez said he 'made an ass of' himself denying PED allegations

LaVar Ball finally got what he deserved

Adrian Peterson makes statement, says it is ‘not all about the money’

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker