Wolves Stung By Hornets
Hornets 95 (35-25) - Timberwolves 81 (13-46) | Target Center
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How it happened:
Attempting to avoid a series sweep to the Wolves on Friday night, the Hornets were motivated to snatch a win and rolled to a 95-81 victory at the Target Center. New Orleans captured control of the contest with a 24-10 run to end the first quarter after Minnesota started strong and even held a 16-11 lead with 6:11 remaining in the first.
As seen in the previous six games where the Wolves shot below 40 percent, the team once again struggled from the floor. The lack of offensive continuity was on full display during the third quarter. Minnesota only connected on 27.8 percent of its field goal shots and committed nine of its 21 turnovers in the defeat. The combined 35 points in the second and third quarters left little hope for a potential comeback and the Wolves dropped to 13-46.
New Orleans deserves a heavy dose of credit for executing a much improved defensive approach while improving to 35-25 on the season. One of the staunchest defensive teams in the league, the Hornets set a physical tone from the onset and made the Wolves work on every offensive possession. The mix of newly acquired big man Carl Landry along with centers Emeka Okafor and Jason Smith helped counter the absence of starting power forward David West. The one time All-Star missed Friday’s game due to a death in the family.
"I thought the Hornets came in here with something to prove. They were going to be physical. They were tired of losing to us. They came out and were very active, they were energetic, they were physical from the beginning of the ball game. They got off to a great start. Uncharacteristic of them, they hit a lot of outside shots." -- head coach Kurt Rambis
Leader of the Pack:
Wes Johnson was a bright spot for the Wolves, scoring 22 points in 43 minutes of action. The rookie dropped 24 on New Orleans earlier this year for a career-high and was just as effective on Friday night by hitting 10-of-19 shots from the floor.
Lazar Hayward once again jumped off the bench for significant minutes, finishing with seven points and five rebounds.
The Numbers Game:
Kevin Love notched his 45th consecutive double-double, eclipsing Moses Malone's streak of 44 during the 1982-83 season. With 11 points and 14 boards, Love continued the impressive consistency and will now chase Malone's 51-game run that spanned the 1978-79 and 1979-80 season.
The Wolves hit the practice floor tomorrow afternoon in preparation for a rare Sunday tilt against the Warriors at the Target Center. Golden State is rolling with a 7-3 record over its last 10 games prior to meeting Atlanta on Friday night. Tipoff set for 4 PM between Minnesota and Golden State on Sunday.
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