For the first time this season the Minnesota Timberwolves are now below .500, the 8-9 Wolves were defeated yesterday by the Denver Nuggets in a sloppy game for Minnesota.
And Coach Rick Adelman was clearly upset by the way they played.
“I was really disappointed with our effort in the first half especially,” Adelman said. “Our defense allowed them to do whatever they wanted.”
Denver shot 63 percent, including 75 percent from three-point range, in the first half.
But the Wolves couldn’t seem to keep it together. Ricky Rubio committed five of his seven turnovers in the first 14 minutes, at which point Denver was shooting 68 percent from the field and 80 percent from three-point range.
Kevin Martin continues to be a bright spot for Minnesota with 29 points and 5 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the night and Kevin Love had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the night.
The first half for the Wolves wasn’t pretty most of the time but they still were able to get a season-high 64 points by halftime, but still trailed 64-55.
The Nuggets connected on 51.1 percent of its shots and shot 50 percent from the three-point line as the Wolves often seemed a step behind on defense.
“We just came out without energy,” said center Nikola Pekovic, “We just didn’t play like we played in previous games. I think this game should be our lesson: We can really score, but we just need to defend a little bit. But if we don’t defend, it’ll be a long season.”
Adelman is giving his players Thursday off but said they should have their work shirts ready to go when they come back on practice Friday.
“They’d better be ready for it,” he said.
They weren’t ready for the Nuggets on Wednesday.
“I think three times they got an offensive rebound and threw it out,” he said, “and our guys just stood there and watched the play.”
While Minnesota’s five starters reached double figures, the team’s bench combined for just 10 points.
“We’ve got to find a way to get a group out there that’s going to come in and compete,” Adelman said. “I think we can do that, but it’s going to take us some time.”
Minnesota had one big chance remaining and pulled close when Kevin Love hit a three-pointer, set up Kevin Martin for a fast break, got another fast-break jam from Martin and a three-pointer from Love to draw within 103-102 with a bit more than three minutes remaining.
Two layups by J.J. Hickson sandwiched around one by Kenneth Faried restored the Nuggets’ lead to seven.
After that the Wolves didn’t have much of a chance to catch up.
Up next for the Wolves is the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center at 7:30 PM CST. You can watch the game on Fox Sports North or listen on WCCO 830 AM Radio.