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Hornets-Timberwolves Preview

AP - Sports

While the New Orleans Hornets haven't won much lately, their woes pale in comparison to those of their next opponent.

The Hornets, losers in five of six, will try to get heading back in the right direction by earning another road win over the sputtering Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

New Orleans (15-32) had won six of seven at one point last month, but its inability to contain opponents has hurt the team over the past three weeks. The Hornets have given up an average of 104.8 points while dropping six of eight.

They let Denver shoot 52.4 percent in a 113-98 defeat Friday, their third in a row, and that virtually negated a 52.8-percent performance at the other end of the floor. Ryan Anderson had 21 points off the bench but no other teammate scored more than 13.

Eric Gordon had nine points on 3-of-8 shooting after sitting out Wednesday's 104-99 defeat to Utah. It was a scheduled day off for Gordon, who missed New Orleans' first 29 games with right knee soreness and is currently not permitted to play in the second game of back-to-backs.

The Hornets also gave up 32 points on 22 turnovers Friday, their most in one game since a season-high 24 in a loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 7.

"The goal for is ... to get our minds right to play (Saturday) night," coach Monty Williams said. "We can't sweep this under the rug by any stretch. We have to understand that you can't turn the ball over against any team in the league that many times."

Gordon was one of six players in double figures with 16 points in a 104-92 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 11, and Greivis Vasquez had a team-best 18 points and 13 assists. Vasquez has 11 or more assists in six of his last eight games but just missed extending a three-game streak of double-digit performance Friday as he finished with nine.

The Hornets could use Vasquez's help to continue their recent success in Minnesota. They're 9-2 in their last 11 visits and have won the past two.

New Orleans has also prevailed in four of the last six overall matchups but lost 113-102 at home to the Timberwolves on Dec. 14. Nikola Pekovic had a career-high 31 points on 14-of-18 shooting and Andrei Kirilenko scored 21.

Minnesota, though, enters this game having lost 11 of 12 and a season-worst six in a row. The Timberwolves (17-26) have also matched another season high with three consecutive home defeats.

They cut a 29-point deficit to four with 5:55 remaining on Friday against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, but would get no closer in a 111-100 defeat. In his second game back from a sprained ankle, Alexey Shved had a team-best 18 points and was one of five players in double figures.

"It's hard," point guard Ricky Rubio said. "We've been losing a lot. Even if we make the effort, sometimes it's not enough."

The Hornets are 1-3 on their five-game trip entering Saturday's finale, while the Timberwolves are 0-2 on their season-long six-game homestand.

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