MINNEAPOLIS -- The young Minnesota Timberwolves felt they were flat in a 109-103 home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, unable to build on the positive feelings they had from a road win at Phoenix in their previous game.
Hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, Minnesota will see if it learned anything from Thursday's loss and starting slow.
"We looked flat," Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns said. "It started with me too, looked flat. It's too late to turn on the gas, five minutes left in the game. It makes it very hard to win a game. We almost pulled it off, but almost isn't good enough."
Minnesota won't want to be in the same situation against Brooklyn, but the Nets also don't offer the same firepower as Indiana.
Brooklyn owns the league's worst record (9-37) after losing its fourth-straight game, 124-116, at Cleveland on Friday. The Nets were playing without starters Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker and Jeremy Lin, as well as guards Joe Harris and Caris LeVert.
Lopez and LeVert sat out the game for rest and should play Saturday. Booker is dealing with an illness. Lin (strained left hamstring) and Harris (sprained left ankle) have missed multiple games.
"Without two big guys, Booker and Lopez, I think that we did a good job to fight through all 48 minutes," Bojan Bogdanovic said, according to the team's Twitter account. Bogdanovic led all Brooklyn starters with 17 points and Sean Kilpatrick had a team-high 18 points off the bench.
"For us to really come out today and play together, I think it was really fun," Kilpatrick said. "It was actually fun to play today. I think we played hard. That's something that as a teammates, that's something that you can deal with."
Without Lopez and Booker, the Nets started Justin Hamilton at center, Bogdanovic and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at forward and guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Randy Foye, a former Timberwolves' first-round draft pick.
And Brooklyn was already facing a Cavaliers team that was looking to get over recent losses. The Nets made the final score closer, scoring 43 points in the fourth quarter, but lost for the 15th time in 16 games.
"Putting them on edge isn't the best thing in the world (for us)," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "But I think (Cleveland coach) Tyronn Lue said it best: they're a great team."
Minnesota (17-29) will also have their minds on avenging a recent loss. The Timberwolves are slowly progressing under coach Tom Thibodeau. They have won six of their last nine games, putting together a pair of three-game winning streaks.
Towns has scored at least 30 points in four of the nine games. He's also pulled down double-digit rebounds in all but one of the games. Andrew Wiggins has averaged 21.3 points per game in that span, and point guard Ricky Rubio has averaged 10.5 points and 12 assists per game.
"In the beginning, everybody is trying to do the right thing," Rubio told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "But sometimes you've got to play with a little more freedom, and we finally clicked. Sometimes you need that, and we've been playing much better as a team."
Another loss likely stings Minnesota heading into Saturday. One of the Nets' nine wins this season was against the Timberwolves, 119-110, in Brooklyn on Nov. 8.