He only played a bit more than six minutes, about half a quarter. But Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved made the most of it. Shved entered the game for Ricky Rubio about two minutes into the second quarter of Wednesday’s 120-109 victory over Portland at Target Center. When he entered the game the Wolves had started the quarter strong, turning a nine-point lead into an 18-point edge. Over the next six-plus minutes Shved was active and aggressive. He fed Kevin Love for a three-pointer, then tossed an alley-oop for a Dante Cunningham slam followed by a driving, soaring one-handed slam of his own. By the time Shved left the game, the Wolves’ lead had grown to 29 and he had four points on 2-for-3 shooting with three assists, two rebounds and a steal. “He was really active,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “He really ran the floor. But he played good the other night, too. I think he’s waking up.” For much of the season Shved has struggled, both with his shot and, seemingly, with his confidence. His shooting percentage was south of 30 percent, and he was part of a second unit that struggled way too often. Perhaps that is changing. Over his past four games, Shved has made nine of 19 shots — going 4-for-9 on three-pointers — with six assists and zero turnovers. “I feel much better right now,” Shved said. The question is, if Shved is waking up, who set the alarm clock? Shved said a few strong practices helped his confidence. That translated into the games, and now he appears to be getting back to the effective guard off the bench Adelman has been looking for. “He has talents that a lot of our guys don’t have — his size, his quickness, his passing ability,” Adelman said. “But he’s got to be aggressive on both ends of the court.” To Adelman, it is no coincidence that, like Shved, the bench has played better lately.
Shved's confidence with Wolves grows along with his game
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Dec 20