The Minnesota Timberwolves will try to halt a six-game losing streak on Saturday night when they welcome the New Orleans Hornets to the Target Center.
The Wolves fell to the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Friday night, 111-100. The Lakers had a 29-point lead at one point and took a 15-point halftime lead thanks to 56-percent shooting and 50-percent shooting from long range. L.A. amassed 68 first-half points.
"They made every single shot," Wolves head coach Rick Adelman said of their opponents. "No matter who it was, whoever came into the game. (Pau) Gasol hit two 17-footers. Everybody was knocking it down, and that just feeds their confidence."
The T'Wolves went to a zone in the second half and cut the gap. They got within four, but Minny shot 4-for-13 from that point. The Wolves missed free- throws late and fell for a 19th-straight time to the Lakers.
"It was just a tale of two halves," Adelman said. "The first half we didn't come out with energy, and they just made every shot. We went to the zone and we got more active, but they beat us on the boards and we just missed a ton of free throws when we were trying to get back into it."
Alexey Shved paced the Wolves with 18 points, followed by 15 from Derrick Williams. Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea chipped in 14 apiece, while Andrei Kirilenko added 12.
The Hornets aren't playing great heading into Saturday night's contest. They lost three in a row, all on the road, as they complete a five-game road trek against the Wolves.
New Orleans fell in Denver to the Nuggets Friday night, 113-98. It was a manageable game with the Nuggets ahead by seven heading into the fourth quarter, but Denver pulled away late.
Ryan Anderson paced the Hornets with 21 points and Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez all scored 13 points apiece.
Turnovers became a huge problem for New Orleans. They committed 22 of them and the Nuggets converted those miscues into 32 points.
"That's a glaring (statistic)," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said of the 22 turnovers. "Our guards had 12 turnovers. That's hard to come back from. We have to understand that you can't turn the ball over that many times against any team in the league."
After the back-to-back games over the weekend, the Hornets return home to New Orleans where some sort of big game is taking place on Sunday.
"How often do you get a chance to have the Super Bowl take place in the same city where you live?" said Hornets center/forward Jason Smith.
Smith and several members of the Hornets will attend Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.
The Wolves and Hornets have split two meetings this season, both in New Orleans. The Hornets have won nine of their last 12 in Minnesota.