Two teams outside the playoff hunt will strive for improvement Sunday night, when the Minnesota Timberwolves host the New Orleans Hornets.
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 Rockets Friday.
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 for Washington.
"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 13.
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.