(Sports Network) - Two teams outside the playoff hunt will strive for
improvement Sunday night, when the Minnesota Timberwolves host the New Orleans
The T'Wolves have lost two straight and four of their last five. New Orleans
has also dropped two in a row and has lost five of its last six.
Minnesota's last setback was particularly discouraging. The Wolves blew a 20-
point third-quarter lead en route a 108-100 defeat on the road to the Houston
It became Houston's largest comeback victory in Toyota Center history.
"Maybe we were running out of gas," pondered Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio.
"These kinds of games you can see who wants to win and who doesn't want it, I
know they're fighting for a playoff spot, but our chances are basically over.
But we can't play like that. We have to want to win every game."
Six Timberwolves scored in double figures, led by 19 points apiece from
Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea. Rubio added 14, followed by 12 from starting
center Greg Stiemsma and 10 each from Luke Ridnour and Mickael Gelabale.
In addition to serious long-term injuries to Kevin Love, Chase Budinger and a
slew of others, the Wolves were without Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko.
Both have missed multiple games, Pekovic with an abdominal strain and
Kirilenko with a calf strain.
Neither is expected back for Sunday's game.
New Orleans completes a three-game road trip on Sunday, but it has not been a
successful sojourn outside the Big Easy. The Hornets are 0-2 with losses in
Brooklyn and Washington.
On Friday, the Hornets dropped the third quarter by 10 points and the Wizards
won by a 96-87 count. John Wall went off for 29 points on 12-for-15 shooting
"I felt that John Wall was disrespected tonight; we just let him shoot shots
like he couldn't make them and he made us pay," Hornets coach Monty Williams
said. "You want to keep him out of the paint, but you don't want to give him
shots. I thought our guards didn't compete at a high level to give our team
a chance to win for 48 minutes."
Eric Gordon paced the Hornets with 20 points. Greivis Vasquez added 18 and
first overall pick Anthony Davis chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds. Ryan
Anderson was the only other New Orleans player in double-digit scoring with
The Wolves have won two of three meetings with New Orleans this season, but
the Hornets have taken two of their last three in Minnesota.
The Sports Network