The Timberwolves have dropped 10 consecutive road games and 26 of 28 overall going into Sunday night’s matchup at New Orleans, where the Hornets can complete a season-series sweep in their home finale.
After reaching the playoffs the last two seasons, New Orleans (35-45) won’t extend the streak after struggling through a disappointing campaign that saw star point guard Chris Paul(notes) limited to 45 games due to injuries.
The Hornets have dropped 17 of 21, and their five-game losing streak is their longest since a six-game skid from March 2-13, 2007.
They’ve lost five of their last six home games following Friday night’s 114-103 defeat to Utah, but they figure to have a good chance of finishing their home slate on a high note against the lowly Timberwolves.
That may require another big night from rookie Darren Collison(notes), the point guard who is filling in for Paul. Collison had 28 points and seven assists against the Jazz and is averaging 18.7 points and 8.5 assists while shooting better than 50 percent from the field since the All-Star break.
Collison’s former teammate at UCLA, forward Kevin Love(notes), has been one of the few bright spots lately for Minnesota, racking up five double-doubles in his last six games and averaging 14.8 rebounds in that stretch.
It hasn’t led to much success for the Timberwolves, whose only win in their last 21 games was 108-99 over Sacramento on March 31.
Despite a 97-88 loss to the Kobe Bryant(notes)-less Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, coach Kurt Rambis was pleased with his team after halftime, when the Timberwolves nearly erased an 18-point deficit.
“The team that played in the second half, that’s the team I want to see all the time,” Rambis said.
Minnesota (15-64) needs one win in its final three games to avoid matching the worst record in franchise history, set in 1991-92, but the Wolves have not had an easy time finding victories against New Orleans.
The Hornets have won five straight overall and four in a row at home against Minnesota, which is averaging 93.0 points in three losses this season.
Center Al Jefferson(notes), a native of nearby southern Mississippi who leads the Timberwolves with 17.4 points per game, will be available after missing the last two games while tending to a hospitalized family member.