As one of two teams with 60 losses this season, the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves are still trying to close out their season on a positive note. Avoiding a franchise-record 17-game losing streak would be a nice start.
Minnesota goes for its first victory in nearly five weeks Wednesday night when it hosts a Sacramento Kings team that’s lost 10 of 12 on the road.
The Timberwolves (14-60) own the Western Conference’s worst record and lead only 10-win New Jersey in the league’s overall standings. Looking for its first victory since Feb. 23 at Miami, Minnesota pulled within one point Sunday after trailing by 25 in the first half, but it still fell to Phoenix 111-105 to tie the franchise record with its 16th straight defeat.
“You definitely need a win,” Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said following his team’s 10th straight home loss. “Everybody’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. The coaches are. The players are. The front office is. The fans are.”
The Timberwolves, who also lost 16 in a row in both 1994 and 1992, go for their second consecutive victory at Target Center against the Kings. Six days after a 20-point loss at Arco Arena, the Timberwolves shot 54.7 percent in a 112-96 home win over Sacramento on Dec. 18.
Kevin Love(notes), who posted his third straight double-double versus the Kings in that matchup with 20 points and 16 rebounds, was sidelined with a sprained left foot as Minnesota fell 114-100 in Sacramento on March 14.
After scoring 23 with a career-high 22 boards Sunday, Love is looking for the Timberwolves to make a strong push over the season’s final two weeks.
“Just go out there and continue to play hard,” he said following Tuesday’s practice. “It seems like I say the same thing every time but that’s really it. Keep your head up, keep battling, bite your lip, grit your teeth, just go out there and get it done.”
Even with rookie standout Tyreke Evans(notes) returning following a five-game absence due to a concussion, the Kings (24-51) were unable to get it done in Indiana on Tuesday, losing 102-95. Sacramento was outscored by 12 in the third quarter after holding a nine-point halftime lead.
“We didn’t come out with the same energy we had in the first half,” Evans said after scoring 17 points with 10 assists, seven boards and four steals in the Kings’ fifth straight defeat. “They were the home team and they took advantage of it.”
Sacramento is averaging just 87.5 points on 40.9 percent shooting in the first four games of its trip, but the Kings face a Timberwolves team surrendering 112.6 points per game during its slide.
Evans had 29 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds against the Wolves earlier this month.
Sacramento has won five of six versus Minnesota.