Wolves Lose 113-98 In Dallas




Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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The Timberwolves returned home Monday night after wrapping up a tough road trip down south—an 0-4 ventured punctuated by a 113-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

They left Minnesota a game above .500 and coming off an emotional win against the Atlanta Hawks. They return knowing that nine of their next 12 will be at Target Center, and that putting a string of games together is just what they need after spending the past six days on the road.

“We just need to forget about this road trip,” Wolves coach Terry Porter said. “We’ve got a little two-game home stand, and hopefully we can get some home cooking.”

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Wolves at Mavericks

During this road trip, the Wolves (16-19) had trouble finishing in the fourth quarter, but Minnesota made its run in the fourth on Monday in Dallas. Unfortunately for the Wolves, they had trailed by as many as 23 during the course of the third quarter. That was in large part due to big nights from Elton Brand off the bench and an aggressive performance from Dallas’ starting back court—Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo.

But Minnesota made its run thanks to getting some timely stops and putting together a string of successful offensive possessions. Barea had a big hand in that, scoring seven points while cutting the lead from 19 down to eight with 3:16 left in the fourth.

“Our guys battled—they never quit,” Porter said. “They gave us a chance to get back in it. We had some big plays down the stretch. But give Dallas credit. They came out and made some shots. We didn’t do a good job with their back court, and their bench hurt us.”

Now the focus turns to what the Wolves need to do at home, where they’re 10-5 and will play the majority of their games heading into February.

Wolves guard Alexey Shved said the key is shoring up their defense, which was still 10th in the league in opponents points per game heading into tonight’s game but hasn’t been able to keep up with its top-four status from the first month and a half.

Guard Ricky Rubio the team simply needs to keep playing and try to take advantage of their games at home.

Postgame: Wolves coach Terry Porter

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“We just want to keep playing as a team; we’re going to get through this,” Rubio said. “We’ve been dealing with that since the first day of the season. There’s not much to do other than keep playing and try to keep getting wins at home. We have good stretch at home, and we need to try to get those wins.”

Barea led the team with 21 points, while Nikola Pekovic scored 20 points and added 12 rebounds on the night. Dante Cunningham had 12 points and six boards, Andrei Kirilenko had 10 points and nine rebounds and Derrick Williams had nine points off the bench. Rubio finished with six points, six assists and five rebounds.

For the Mavericks, Collison scored 23 points and added nine assists, Mayo had 20 points and nine assists and Brand had 20 points and six rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman each had 10 points. Shawn Marion added eight rebounds.

Leader of the Pack: J.J. Barea

In his first game back at American Airlines Center since the 2011 NBA Finals, Barea made a big impact in his return to Dallas. Barea scored 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting, and his hit his first three 3-point attempts. He finished 4-of-7 from 3-point range, was 5-of-5 from the line and added five assists.

“I’m always going to be aggressive,” Barea said. “I hit my first couple shots early, so I just started trying to be aggressive the whole game. I just tried to bring as much energy off the bench and help my team as much as I can.”

Highlight of the Night

With 3:16 remaining in the fourth quarter and Minnesota currently on a run, Dallas turned the ball over and the Wolves made a quick inbound pass to J.J. Barea. Barea took the ball up court, pulled up from 3-point range and connected on a shot that cut the once 23-point Mavericks lead down to seven—forcing a Mavericks timeout. During the timeout the referees reviewed a previous 3-pointer and reversed it, making it an eight-point game, and the Mavericks pulled away in the final three minutes. But Barea’s big shot for a moment brought the Wolves within striking distance.

The Numbers Game

  • Minnesota had four players in double figures in the game, including Nikola Pekovic who scored 20 points and added 12 rebounds for his XXth double-double of the season.


  • The Mavericks finished the game shooting 59 percent from the field, which actually dropped from their 63 percent they were shooting through three quarters. They connected on 6-of-13 shots from 3-point range, and Elton Brand, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo combined to shoot 25-for-35 on the night.


  • Dallas held a 31-11 fast break points advantage, and it’s where the Mavs gained a significant edge in this one. Minnesota, on the other hand, held a 19-2 advantage on second chance points.


  • Quotable

    “He made shots more than the first time I saw him, I know that much. I don’t know if that’s an ability to feel more comfortable in that offense or figuring out where his shots are coming from.” —Wolves coach Terry Porter on Elton Brand’s 20-point night off the bench

    Next Up

    The Timberwolves return home for a Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Clippers on TNT with tipoff set for 7 p.m. They’ll stay in Minnesota on Saturday night for a game against the Houston Rockets before hitting the road against Atlanta on Monday.


    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.
    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.