Bobcats 100, Timberwolves 95
Morrison scored 26 points—all in the second half—to help the Bobcats rally from a 17-point deficit and beat the Timberwolves 100-95 on Wednesday night.
The reserve forward was 0-for-5 in the first half but finished 10-for-19. He scored eight straight points for Charlotte during the third quarter and 13 consecutive late in the fourth.
“He shot an assortment of shots tonight, everything,” Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “Off one leg, off the move. It was just a great game.”
Kevin Garnett had 22 points and 11 rebounds to record his NBA-leading 47th double-double for the Timberwolves, who lost their second consecutive game and fell to 3-7 in their past 10.
Mike James added 17 points, but just two during the second half, in a reserve role for Minnesota, which lost the opener of a key five-game homestand. Minnesota, a much better team at home than on the road, dropped to 16-10 at Target Center.
The Timberwolves’ next four games are against division leaders.
“We fell into worrying about ourselves as individuals instead of worrying about the team,” said Minnesota interim coach Randy Wittman, who is 5-9 since taking over after Dwane Casey was fired Jan. 23.
The Timberwolves, who began the night in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, looked as if they would coast to a victory after James sparked them in the second quarter.
The point guard, maligned for his inconsistent play during the first half of the season, had 15 points in the second quarter as Minnesota went up by 17 en route to a 58-45 halftime lead.
The Bobcats and Timberwolves both played Tuesday night, but the younger Charlotte team—especially Morrison—looked much fresher in the second half.
The Bobcats trailed 78-66 after Garnett’s tip-in with 3:08 left in the third quarter, but Morrison scored the next eight points to pull Charlotte within 78-74 late in the third.
Then the first-year forward from Gonzaga really took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight points for the Bobcats. His 3-pointer started the streak and brought Charlotte to within 88-87 with 4:52 left, and his runner from the baseline with just more than a minute remaining gave the Bobcats a 97-90 lead.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball in the right situation,” he said. “I was hot, and that is what the NBA is all about, getting the ball to the right guy.”
Morrison, the third pick in last year’s draft, struggled before the All-Star break, but he scored 18 points in Charlotte’s 104-100 home victory over New Orleans on Tuesday night.
“I haven’t played to the best of my ability, but I still have decent numbers,” said Morrison, who entered Wednesday second among NBA rookies with an average of 12.8 points per game. “I would definitely like to improve that. My teammates are doing a great job of sticking with me.”
For the Timberwolves, meanwhile, it was another confounding loss in an inconsistent season.
As an example, Minnesota rallied from a 20-point deficit to win 102-96 on Jan. 1 at Charlotte Arena in the teams’ other meeting this season.
“It’s been a tale of two teams; that’s been our season,” James said.
Casey was fired with a 20-20 record because management was upset with the team’s up-and-down play. Moving Wittman from assistant to head coach has done little to solve those problems.
“I’m tired of guys pouting on the floor, during the game,” said Wittman, whose team had just two assists in the second half after piling up 19 before halftime. “You cannot do that during games. Give me guys that have no talent, and you’re going to lose the game but go down fighting. We didn’t go down fighting tonight.”
Sean May (right knee), Othella Harrington (left knee) and Jeff McInnis (right ankle) were inactive for the Bobcats. May has missed 12 consecutive games, Harrington 10 and McInnis two. … The Bobcats got their first win in three tries at Target Center. … Timberwolves F Mark Madsen had to be helped off the court early in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on his left ankle. The team said X-rays didn’t reveal any breaks, and that Madsen was day-to-day with a sprain.