Wolves Return Home to Face Magic
Posted Nov 11 2006 10:21AM
The Minnesota Timberwolves watched their hot start end with a thud on the road.
Back at home, the Timberwolves look to turn things around Saturday when they play the Orlando Magic.
The Timberwolves won consecutive games to open the season for the first time since 2002-03, which included a victory over Denver to start a four-game road trip.
Those good feelings quickly wore off as Minnesota dropped the last three games of the trip, limping back to the Target Center after failing to break 90 points in any of those losses.
``We have to gather ourselves,'' Timberwolves guard Mike James said. ``We need to do some soul searching now and find out how bad our guys really want to win. We have to compete for the whole game, we can't just compete for three minutes.''
The Timberwolves (2-3) play four of their next five games at home, where they went 24-17 last season and beat Sacramento 92-83 in the 2006-07 opener.
In contrast, Minnesota was only 9-32 on the road last year.
The Timberwolves shot a combined 6-for-30 from beyond the 3-point line in their last two defeats to Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers, and trailed the Lakers by as many as 20 points before losing 95-88.
``It's only five games into the season, we have 77 more,'' Timberwolves rookie Randy Foye said. ``It's a work in progress and we're not running a sprint, we're running a marathon. We just have to keep it going.''
Kevin Garnett, who had his streak of 37 consecutive double-doubles snapped when he had 26 points and nine rebounds in the loss to the Lakers, has posted 14 straight double-doubles against the Magic. He's averaging 20.7 points and 13.7 rebounds in 20 career games against Orlando.
The Magic (3-3) began a three-game road trip with a 93-83 loss to Indiana on Friday night, failing in their bid for a three-game winning streak. Orlando entered the game shooting a league-best 51 percent, but was held to 44 percent from the field by the Pacers.
``It was a lack of execution on our part,'' Orlando coach Brian Hill said. ``In the first half, we were patient and took what they gave us and ran with it. We didn't shoot well from the line and that is going to happen. We just need to keep practicing at it and working at it.''
The Magic are 0-2 away from home this season after going 10-31 on the road last season. One of those losses was a 103-91 defeat to Minnesota on March 29, in which Garnett had 27 points and 19 rebounds.
Despite the loss to Indiana, Dwight Howard bounced back with 17 points and 14 rebounds, his first double-double since the season opener. He had scored 15 points combined in his previous two games.
Garnett led the NBA with 62 double-doubles last season while Howard and Shawn Marion of Phoenix tied for second with 60.
``If he ever really ever defines his offensive game, he's going to be a monster for years to come,'' said Pacers center Jermaine O'Neal, who matched up against Howard on Friday. ``He's not even 21 yet, so it is going to be scary to see him when he's 22, 23 years old ... I'm a fan of his. I like what he's doing.''
Minnesota and Orlando split two meetings last season. The Magic finish their road trip at Boston on Monday.
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