Timberwolves-Warriors Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 18, 2012
The Minnesota Timberwolves are showing frustration during a three-game slide that is costing them ground in the Western Conference playoff race. The visiting Timberwolves have dropped six of their last seven meetings with the Golden State Warriors heading into these teams' first matchup of the season Monday night. Minnesota (22-24) has lost five of six as it tries to avoid its second four-game slide of the season. The Timberwolves are enduring a 1-4 stretch since losing rookie point guard Ricky Rubio for the season to knee surgery. Sunday's 115-99 loss at Sacramento dropped Minnesota to 1-3 on this seven-game trip and featured a brief shouting match on the bench late in the game between Timberwolves star Kevin Love and reserve guard Jose Barea. "It's frustrating, but nothing personal against JJ," Love said. "I think we were both frustrated and took it out on each other when we should have took it out on the other team. So both of us made mistakes and both of us feel bad." The Timberwolves committed 21 turnovers that led to 32 points for the last-place Kings. "Everything we started off at the beginning of the season trying to avoid we did tonight," coach Rick Adelman said. "I don't know how many second-chance points they had, but they continued to beat us to the rim. Their season has been tough and we talked about that before the game. If you let them get going in their own building they will be tough." Love had 21 points and 11 boards for his league-leading 38th double-double and third in a row. He didn't get much help from Darko Milicic, who had two points and no rebounds in just six first-quarter minutes before Adelman benched the Serbian big man the rest of the way. The coach started Milicic at center in place of Nikola Pekovic, who is bothered by a sore left ankle. Pekovic averaged 22.0 points on 55.4 percent shooting and an average of 10.6 rebounds over Minnesota's previous five games. While Golden State (18-24) has traditionally been a tough matchup for Minnesota, it could be different after the Warriors dealt leading scorer Monta Ellis to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Ellis averaged 22.3 points against the Wolves over the previous two seasons. The new-look Warriors have lost three straight, falling 99-92 in overtime at Utah on Saturday. They allowed a tying three-point play by the Jazz's Derrick Favors late in regulation. "The frustrating thing is that we had the opportunity to close out the game. We needed one stop and we couldn't get it done. It's disappointing," coach Mark Jackson said. Richard Jefferson had nine points on 2-of-14 shooting in his Warriors debut after being acquired Thursday from San Antonio. "There were some shots that I could have knocked down, but you win as a team and you lose as a team," Jefferson said. Golden State could again be without Stephen Curry, who did not dress for the fourth straight game because of a sprained right ankle that has plagued him all season. Curry averages 14.7 points and 5.3 assists.
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