Rockets, T-Wolves both aim to halt losing skids

Either the Houston Rockets or the Minnesota Timberwolves will snap a long losing streak Saturday night when the two teams collide at the Target Center.

The Rockets ran their slide to six games Friday night with a 105-95 setback in Indiana to the Pacers. Saturday will be the third of four in a row on the road for the Rockets, who are 7-13 as the guest on the season.

"I think everybody is a little bit (tired)," admitted coach Kevin McHale. "We don't have just a lot of zip right now. We don't have a lot of juice and we've got to get it back. This is a long season and we have to find it again. We're just in a funk. It just doesn't look like we have much spark out there. We can get things going for awhile but then we have those periods when we really struggle."

The Rockets fell behind by 13 after the first quarter against the Pacers and never got too close again. Omer Asik had a career-high with 22 points and 12 boards, while James Harden, Carlos Delfino, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin all scored in double figures.

Houston is the NBA's worst defensive team and has surrendered over 100 points in eight of the last 10.

The T-Wolves have dropped five straight and the injury news just keeps piling up for Minnesota.

Center Nikola Pekovic will be out 7-to-10 days with a right quad contusion. Guard Alexey Shved is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle. Both left Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Wolves were left with only eight players to finish off the 90-77 loss.

The Timberwolves don't even have enough healthy bodies to practice 5-on-5 with Pekovic, Shved, Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger and Malcolm Lee all sidelined.

"You don't get into a rhythm and a timing when you talk about not having enough guys to get up and down," said interim head coach Terry Porter. "A lot of it is on half court correction, defensive and offensive breakdowns we had the previous night. We haven't done it yet, maybe some times showing film, but we haven't done that yet. The most important thing is walking through the breakdowns, doing half court execution in different lineups."

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said on Friday the team has been granted a hardship exception from the NBA because of the injury problems. Kahn said the exception will probably give them another player signed for a 10-day contract.

Luke Ridnour led the way with 21 points against the Clippers and Andrei Kirilenko and Derrick Williams both scored in double figures.

The Rockets defeated the Timberwolves on Dec. 26, 87-84 in Minnesota. Houston has won 16 of the last 20 against Minnesota.