All-Star point guard Devin Harris provided New Jersey with a boost in his return from injury, but it wasn’t enough to help the Nets beat one of the league’s best teams.
They hope a game against one of the NBA’s worst clubs can get them back in the win column.
Harris looks to help the Nets avoid losing their fourth straight game and fall further out of the playoff race Sunday against the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves, who haven’t won in two weeks.
After missing five games with a shoulder injury suffered in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on March 15, Harris finished with 13 points and 14 assists in Friday’s 103-95 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harris shot just 4-of-13 from the field but did a good job of running the offense as the Nets (30-42) pulled within three points with two minutes remaining.
“I mean they gave great effort being down 22,” New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. “But, like I said, we’re running out of time for these consolation prizes and we’re all very disappointed that we couldn’t pull off the ‘W’.”
The Nets, who have dropped 15 of 21, are 11th in the East with just 10 games remaining and their slim playoff chances would take a major hit with a loss to the Timberwolves (20-53). New Jersey, though, has lost five straight in Minnesota since an 86-82 victory on Nov. 23, 2002.
Harris, who was averaging 31.0 points and 10.0 assists in the three games before his injury, was one of seven Nets to score in double figures in a 113-84 win over Minnesota on Dec. 5. The Nets shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 14 3-pointers on 28 attempts.
The Timberwolves haven’t had much luck winning at home lately, going just 2-13 at the Target Center since Jan. 28.
Minnesota returns to the Target Center after suffering its seventh straight defeat - a 107-85 loss to Cleveland on Friday. The Timberwolves, who have not won since beating Charlotte on March 14, are averaging 89.6 points during their skid.
“You have to not accept losing and have pride - have pride in these nine games and just build on next year,” said Kevin Love, who finished with 18 points against the Cavaliers.
Love and Ryan Gomes both returned to the starting lineup Friday after coach Kevin McHale benched his starting five to begin Wednesday’s 96-88 loss to Philadelphia.
Gomes had only seven points on 2-of-7 shooting versus Cleveland. He’s averaging 8.4 points on 30.9 percent shooting in his last seven games after scoring 23.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting in his previous six.
Gomes had five points on 2-of-7 shooting against the Nets in December.