Given their recent history against one of the Eastern Conference’s weakest teams, the Timberwolves should not expect an easy time trying to snap a nearly two-month-long road losing skid.
Minnesota looks to avoid its 13th straight road loss as it meets the Atlanta Hawks for the first of two games between the teams in a four-day span.
The Wolves have lost their two visits to Atlanta since Nov. 20, 2002, and are 5-10 there all-time.
With a 97-92 setback Tuesday against Charlotte, the Timberwolves tied the mark for third-longest road slide in team history—12 games—last set over two seasons from March 26-Nov. 8, 1994.
“I think you have to have a focus on the road, a mental toughness on the road, that I think we’re trying to find,” Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s the story of our season.”
Minnesota dropped 14 in a row on the road from Jan. 17-March 8, 1994. Its longest road losing skid is 22 from Dec. 9, 1989-March 23, 1990.
The Wolves began this season with a 5-4 mark in their first nine away from the Target Center, but have gone just 3-25 since. They have not won a road contest since Feb. 6, upsetting Pacific Division-leading Phoenix 103-101.
The Timberwolves’ eight road wins this season are second-fewest in the West behind the six posted by Portland, which owns the conference’s worst record.
Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 22 rebounds against the Bobcats for his 60th double-double this season. It also was the third time Garnett has posted at least 20 points and 20 boards.
“It’s very disappointing—not just against Charlotte, but against everyone we’ve played on the road,” Garnett said of the Wolves’ futility. “It’s been tough because we’ve been in almost every game.”
Like Minnesota, the Hawks also have struggled on the road. Atlanta fell to New Jersey 96-94 on Monday for its season-high ninth straight loss away from Philips Arena.
Atlanta trailed 80-57 early in the fourth quarter before going on a 24-2 run to draw within one, 82-81. New Jersey briefly extended its lead before Josh Smith’s free throw with 97 seconds left got the Hawks within 89-87.
The Nets sank five straight free throws before Joe Johnson answered with five straight points. But his offensive foul with 8.9 seconds left ended the Hawks’ hopes and gave the Nets their 13th win in a row and the Atlantic Division title.
“For that to be the deciding point in the game, I thought it was a tough call,” said Johnson, who finished with 33 points.
The Wolves and Hawks will meet again Sunday in Minneapolis.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Timberwolves - 8-29 on the road; Hawks - 15-21 at home.