Posted November 07, 2012 on
AP on Fox
The Minnesota Timberwolves found themselves on the verge of a second consecutive loss before a big rally their last time out.
Now they're hoping for a change of fortunes against the Orlando Magic.
Minnesota tries to avoid an eighth consecutive loss to visiting Orlando, which could be without injured point guard Jameer Nelson again Wednesday night.
One day after falling 105-86 at Toronto, Minnesota (2-1) appeared headed for another disappointing result Monday before pulling out a 107-96 road win over Brooklyn thanks to a huge fourth-quarter surge. The Timberwolves, who outscored the Nets 32-10 over the final 12 minutes, trailed by as many as 22 points, marking their largest comeback in 15 seasons.
Minnesota shot a season-best 49.4 percent from the field and outrebounded Brooklyn 46-30. Nikola Pekovic recorded 21 points while Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 to go along with 10 rebounds for his first double-double.
"The first half was a continuation of last game," Kirilenko, who added four blocks, told the team's official website. "We had a lack of focus. But in the second half, we just talked to each other and did not worry about the losing quarter. We had to just improve our game because since the beginning of the season we had good stretches and bad stretches, but we have to stay in the game with consistency."
The Timberwolves now look to snap their recent woes against the Magic. Orlando (2-1) has taken seven straight in this series by an average of 17.1 points while limiting Minnesota to 41.2 percent shooting, although Dwight Howard played in all those games.
After winning their first two contests following the departure of the three-time NBA defensive player of the year, the Magic couldn't keep up Tuesday in a 99-93 loss at Chicago.
Arron Afflalo had 28 points while E'Twaun Moore - starting in place of Nelson - scored 17. Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic each had 16 with 10 rebounds, but Orlando couldn't hold a lead going into the final period.
"Our lull offensively gave them an opportunity to hit some shots in the fourth quarter," said Afflalo, averaging 19.2 points in his last six games against Minnesota. "It's unfortunate, because it was a game I thought we could have won."
The Magic had a chance to open 3-0 for the fourth time in franchise history but shot just 41.9 percent and got only 14 bench points after their reserves totaled 81 in the first two games.
"We can't play one-on-one basketball," first-year coach Jacque Vaughn said. "When we shared the basketball we got good looks. But when we turn it into a one-on-one contest, we're not going to get good looks."
Getting Nelson back would surely give Orlando a boost, but the nine-year veteran is listed as day to day after missing his second straight game Tuesday with a strained right hamstring and groin.
Slowing down Kirilenko could prove key for the Magic. He's averaged 14.0 points against Orlando in his career, his second-highest mark against any opponent.
Kirilenko, who was named last season's Euroleague MVP while playing with CSKA Moscow, is averaging 14.3 points on 68.0 percent shooting for Minnesota.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Wolves guard J.J. Barea and Cavs guard David Sloan have each earned the dubious distinction of being the first players given flopping warnings by the NBA.
MINNEAPOLIS In the final seconds of Wednesday's game, Greg Stiemsma lunged toward the basket, all 260 pounds of him, just in time to block E'Twaun Moore's layup. It was a desperate, last-ditch block, not thundering, hardly powerful, but it did the trick. No, I won't let you within 15, it said, at least not on this possession. No matter how tired I might be. No matter...
Mark Cheel was able to chat with Luke Ridnour about being the oldest player on the Wolves roster, back issues that slowed him down and his goals for the current season.
Here is the local media members covering the MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES Newspaper- The largest newspaper in the region is the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. They appear to have a fairly comprehensive sports section, including an area dedicated to the Timberwolves. Beat writer Jerry Zgoda (Twitter) also maintain the paper’s On the Wolves blog. Columnists Chip Scoggins (Twitter), Patrick Reusse
MINNEAPOLIS -- Don't look now, but a week into the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves lead the Northwest Division -- even without injured stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Minnesota improved to 3-1 with a 90-75 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday at Target Center. The Timberwolves are off to their best start since Kevin Garnett pushed them to a 6-0 record a decade...
MINNEAPOLIS The drama is three months behind them in Orlando, and maybe it's helped. The Dwight Howard-less Orlando team is 2-1, and early on, it's posed a bigger challenge than most would have imagined.
Yes, Glen Davis is the focal point of their offense. Yes, they're hardly deep. But the Magic have been solid early, especially in terms of 3-point shooting; they'...
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah regrets his decision to shoot a 3-pointer against the Orlando Magic Tuesday night, as he tried to win Big Macs for fans at the United Center. Chicago-based McDonald’s is running a promotion with the Bulls. Fans can get a free Big Mac if the Bulls score 100 points during a win at home. The Bulls won 99-93. But Noah missed his 3-ponter with 3.8...
Luke Ridnour had 19 points and five rebounds, and Greg Stiemsma got the rout started with six straight points to end the third quarter in a 90-75 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Stiemsma finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and Derrick Williams added 14 points and six boards for the Timberwolves, who are 3-1 for the first time since 2001. They led an ugly...
While the Minnesota Timberwolves have enjoyed some early success without their two top players, the Indiana Pacers continue to struggle offensively minus injured star Danny Granger.
The Timberwolves look to win three in a row by handing the visiting Pacers a third consecutive defeat Friday night.
Even with star Kevin Love sidelined for at least six weeks with a broken right hand...
Sadly, there was no write-in option for the poll on the Orlando Magic official team website asking fans who'd they like to be the primary backup point guard.I would have gone with Chucky Atkins...(Courtesy of The NBA Mistress)
(2-0) vs. (2-1)
Time/TV: 8 p.m./FSFlorida
Line: Bulls by 9
Tickets: $10-$225 on Vivid Seats
Season Series: Tonight in Chicago; Jan. 2 in Orlando; April 5 in Chicago; April 15 in Orlando
Dwight Howard is gone and two of their starters have already been injured, but the Orlando Magic are off to a perfect start.
They'll try to keep it that way when they hit the road for the first time.
Orlando goes for its first 3-0 start in three years on Tuesday night when the Chicago Bulls try to avoid their first set of back-to-back home losses since that same season.