With Ricky Davis and Mark Blount shipped off to Miami earlier this week and newly acquired veteran Antoine Walker watching from the sidelines, Minnesota coach Randy Wittman turned the team over to his young players a week before the opener against Denver.
The strategy worked for the most part, resulting crisp passing, an aggressive paint presence and a balanced scoring attack. The Wolves had 22 assists to Milwaukee's 14.
"Going into the regular season knowing we got a good win ... is very good for our confidence level," McCants said. "Hopefully, tomorrow and the next couple of days you get a couple of good practices in, we'll be ready for Denver."
Milwaukee played its second consecutive game without Andrew Bogut, who sat out with a sprained left wrist.
After falling behind by 20 points, the Bucks got within seven in the third quarter. But Jefferson sparked an 18-2 run that effectively put the game away.
"I thought it was a horrendous effort," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
The Timberwolves still have plenty of growing up to do.
Their inexperience caught up with them in the form of defensive lapses and turnovers that allowed Milwaukee to slowly whittle away at the lead. Minnesota committed 32 fouls and 30 turnovers.
"We can't give other teams opportunities and think that we're going to go ahead and win the game if we're going to keep turning the ball over," Gomes said. "When the defense pressures us, we kind of pick the ball up and get rattled."
Sebastian Telfair played well in his return to the lineup after missing five games with a sprained left ankle. He came off the bench early when Randy Foye, the second-year player who started in place of Marko Jaric, got into foul trouble and finished with seven points and six assists in 26 minutes.
Bucks F-G Awvee Storey suited up but didn't play for the second straight game with pain in his left hip. ... Charlie Bell went 24-for-25 from the free-throw line in the preseason. ... Minnesota shot a preseason-best 61.2 percent from the floor. The Wolves' previous high was 47.4 percent last Saturday against the Bucks.